SIU Concludes Investigation into Explosion in Martintown, Ontario



    TORONTO, Oct. 28 /CNW/ - The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has
determined that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that a house
explosion, which killed one man and seriously injured two Ontario Provincial
Police officers, was the result of any criminal conduct on the part of the
officers.
    Then SIU Director James Cornish stated: "The evidence gathered by SIU
investigators indicates that no police action was responsible for the fire."
    On June 9, 2008 at approximately 9 a.m., OPP officers responded to a
9-1-1 call at a house on Beaver Brook Road in Martintown, Ontario where a man
was threatening to burn down the house. As two officers entered through the
front door, an explosion engulfed the kitchen area of the residence.
    The critically-injured man, 27-year-old Matthew McNaughton, was airlifted
to hospital in Ottawa and later transferred by air ambulance to a medical
facility in Quebec City where he died the following day as a result of the
burns he suffered to 80 per cent of his body. The two officers were treated
for severe burns; one of them received extensive burns to his face and hands
while the other was less seriously burned. Two other officers were treated for
smoke inhalation.
    Five SIU field investigators and three forensic investigators collected
evidence at the scene including a melted plastic gasoline container and a
barbeque lighter. The forensic and witness evidence points to the conclusion
that the fire was the result of the intentional application and introduction
of gasoline into the house by Mr. McNaughton that was used to assist in the
burning and/or the spread of the fire.
    Also recovered from the ruins of the house was a .40 calibre cartridge
case in the front hallway. This was consistent with the evidence that one of
the subject officers discharged his pistol within the house to break a window
or door handle to facilitate his escape from the house after the fire had been
set. There was no evidence, forensic or otherwise, that the pistol discharge
was the cause of the fire.
    Addressing the officers' decision to enter the home, Mr. Cornish
concluded: "It was reasonable for them to believe that Mr. McNaughton was a
threat to himself and others, and that their immediate intervention was
required. I do not believe that any criminal liability can be attached to
their actions."
    During its investigation, the SIU interviewed five witness officers and
nine civilian witnesses including family members and firefighters. Also
reviewed was a report prepared by the Office of the Fire Marshall.

    The SIU is a civilian agency that investigates cases of serious injuries
(including allegations of sexual assault) and deaths involving the police.
Pursuant to section 113 of the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU is
mandated to consider whether a criminal offence has been committed by an
officer(s) in connection with the incident under investigation and, where
warranted by the evidence, to cause a criminal charge or charges to be laid
against the officer(s). The Director reports the results of investigations to
the Attorney General.





For further information:

For further information: John Yoannou, SIU Communications/Service des
communications, UES, Telephone/No de telephone: (416) 622-2342 or/ou
1-800-787-8529, For general information about the SIU, please visit our
website at www.siu.on.ca

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