SIU Concludes Investigation into Motor Vehicle Collision Involving Ontario Provincial Police



    TORONTO, Sept. 5 /CNW/ - The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has
determined that criminal charges are not warranted against an Ontario
Provincial Police (OPP) officer in connection with a collision that resulted
in injuries to an officer and two occupants of a civilian vehicle.
    "In my view, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the subject
officer committed any criminal offence in this matter," concluded SIU Director
James Cornish.
    The collision took place on Friday July 11, 2008 at approximately 9:30
a.m. at Highway 62 and County Road 14 in Thurlow Township north of Belleville.
An OPP officer was responding to assist another officer with a non-emergency
call and therefore had not activated the cruiser's emergency lighting. She
stopped for the stop sign and then proceeded into the intersection believing
it to be a four-way stop, not seeing a van coming towards her vehicle.
    Mr. Cornish noted: "The van was being driven appropriately and its driver
would have had no reason to suspect that the officer was about to pull out
into the intersection given that the intersection was, in fact, a two-way stop
for east and westbound traffic on County Road 14 only. It was too late for the
southbound driver to take evasive action and the two vehicles collided and
spun out of control."
    As a result of the collision, a female passenger in the van suffered a
fractured knee; the driver and the OPP officer were treated at the Quinte
Health Centre for their injuries.
    The subsequent SIU investigation found that the day of the incident was
the officer's first day traveling without a coach officer in an area of the
province with which she was unfamiliar.
    In considering the possibility of criminal charges, Mr. Cornish said:
"Simple negligence is not sufficient to create criminal liability. What is
required is conduct that constitutes a marked departure from the level of care
that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances. Although
this case may well constitute a breach of certain rules of the road, in my
view, it falls short of constituting conduct that can appropriately be
characterized as criminal in nature. In arriving at this determination, I note
that the lapse in care was a momentary one and the fact that the officer was
driving in unfamiliar territory. For these reasons, I am of the view that
there are no reasonable grounds to support the charge of dangerous driving or
dangerous driving causing bodily harm, both of which are based on a marked
departure finding. It will for the OPP to review the matter in the context of
the Highway Traffic Act."
    The SIU assigned four field investigators, two forensic investigators and
an accident reconstructionist to this case, which included a review of police
communications tapes and interviews with five civilian witnesses.

    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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