Audio clips via CNW - Statement from James Cornish, Director, Special Investigations Unit (SIU)



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    DATE:     Tuesday, September 30/08
    TIME:     3:00PM ET

    http://cnw.pathfireondemand.com/viewpackage.action?packageid=91
    

    STORY SUMMARY: Statement from James Cornish, Director, Special
Investigations Unit (SIU) in response to the Ombudsman's Report. Mr. Cornish
says he is committed to a full and careful consideration of the report, and
that the SIU will act on any of the Ombudsman's recommendations that may help
to enhance the agency's investigative process and working relationships with
the public and police.

    
    SCRIPT:

    01 (Special Investigations Unit statement)
    

    TORONTO. X-3:53.

    Special Investigations Unit addresses recent Ombudsman report. Director,
James Cornish, says the SIU will act on any of the recommendations put forth
by the Ombudsman that may help enhance relationships with the public and
police.

    ("...there is one law for everyone in Ontario.") (CNW Group)

    TAG: The SIU is a civilian agency that investigates cases of serious
injuries (including allegations of sexual assault) and deaths involving the
police.

    Transcript:

    "On behalf of the women and men of the Special Investigations Unit, the
SIU, I would like to thank Ontario's Ombudsman for his systemic review of the
SIU's processes. The Ombudsman has provided 25 recommendations on how we can
improve our work. Already I have committed the SIU to a full and careful
consideration of the Ombudsman's report and to taking the necessary steps to
act on the Ombudsman's recommendations where feasible.
    Even before June 2007, when the Ombudsman launched his investigation, the
SIU had already begun to address many issues noted by the Ombudsman.
    In response to increasing caseload pressures, the SIU sought funding from
the Ministry of the Attorney General for additional resources. The Attorney
General was responsive to the SIU's requests and, in August 2008, approved new
funding totaling approximately $700,000. These new funds will enable us to
hire and train four more full-time investigators, including two entry-level
investigators. We will also hire additional administrative staff and fund an
outreach coordinator position. The Attorney General also approved one-time
funding to enable the SIU to acquire a mobile investigative centre.

    
    Outreach Has Long Been A Priority At The Siu. During My Tenure, The Siu:
    -   Established An Affected Persons Coordinator Position In 2006
    -   Launched The First Nations Liaison Program In 2005
    -   Continued The Work Of The Director's Resource Committee
    -   Invited Civilians To Speak About Their Experiences With The Siu At
        Internal Training Sessions.
    

    The Ombudsman made positive findings about the SIU in his report. The
Ombudsman found no evidence of any cases having been tainted by improper
motives or bias. This reflects the SIU's commitment to providing an impartial
public service to the people of Ontario.
    The Ombudsman acknowledged the strong commitment of SIU staff to their
work. The men and women of the SIU are skilled professionals dedicated to
public service. I stand firmly behind their abilities and their dedication to
doing the best job they can on behalf of the people of Ontario.
    The Ombudsman recognized that the SIU's consultative approach often
results in the policing community taking corrective action. One example of the
success of this approach is that the SIU is now routinely told in advance of
major policing operations that have the potential for violence so that the
Unit can plan for a swift response if called.
    The Ombudsman noted that there have been some investigative flaws in
isolated cases. This of course reminds us that we must always strive to do
better. As the Ombudsman pointed out, when the SIU discovers a flaw in the
thoroughness of an investigation or in the adequacy of its investigative
practices, we take steps to redress the issues. It should be noted that the
Ombudsman, at the outset of his review, suggested he might recommend that the
SIU re-open cases. There was no such recommendation.
    In closing, I wish to thank Ontario's Ombudsman and his staff for the
important public service they have undertaken on behalf of the people of
Ontario. I am confident the Ombudsman's recommendations will help make the SIU
an even more vital public institution, one working to maintain the public's
confidence in civilian oversight and the public's trust that there is one law
for everyone in Ontario."

    STATIONS, FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CALL: John Yoannou,
Communications Manager, 416-622-2342, John.Yoannou@ontario.ca

    CNW Broadcast On-Demand provides free, secure and easy-to-use broadcast
quality material direct from our website to accredited journalists worldwide.
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