SIU Discontinues Pikangikum First Nation Investigation
Mississauga, ON (16 March, 2023) —
On March 19, 2021, the Ontario Provincial Police notified the SIU of reports of inappropriate behaviour by one or more of their members against Indigenous female prisoners at their Pikangikum Detachment. The SIU initiated an investigation.
Upon notification of the incident, the SIU set out to identify any possible victim of, or witness to, the reported misconduct. These initial efforts proved unsuccessful. At the suggestion of the First Nation, the SIU decided to retain the services of Keesic Health Strategies, owned by, and comprised of, First Nations persons with a focus on First Nations Health Projects. The firm was to assist in building trust and rapport between the community and the SIU with the intention of encouraging complainants and witnesses to step forward to participate in the SIU investigation.
Based on the SIU’s inquiries to date, SIU Director Joseph Martino was satisfied that the investigation should be discontinued at this time. At the end of the day, despite the efforts of the SIU, no complainants or witnesses were identified. On this record, there was an insufficient evidentiary foundation to move forward with this matter. Accordingly, the file has been closed.
Every consideration will be given to re-opening the investigation in the future in the event of complainants and/or witnesses stepping forward.
The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates the conduct of officials (police officers as well as special constables with the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers with the Legislative Protective Service) that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault and/or the discharge of a firearm at a person. All investigations are conducted by SIU investigators who are civilians. Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, the Director of the SIU must
- consider whether the official has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation
- depending on the evidence, cause a criminal charge to be laid against the official where grounds exist for doing so, or close the file without any charges being laid
- publicly report the results of its investigations
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Kristy Denette, [email protected]
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES