Ombudsman to Investigate Special Investigations Unit

TORONTO - June 8, 2007 - Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin announced yesterday that his office will be conducting a systemic investigation into the Special Investigations Unit.  The announcement follows several complaints respecting the agency’s objectivity and the thoroughness of its investigations, as well as in respect of the agency’s refusal to release information to victims and their families following the conclusion of investigations.  Mr. Marin is himself a former director of the SIU. 

The need for a systemic examination of the agency was highlighted in the inquest into the police shooting death of 17-year-old Jeffrey Reodica.  The SIU, which investigates police-related deaths and serious injuries, cleared the shooter of criminal wrongdoing.  The Reodica family’s efforts to obtain SIU records respecting its investigation were stonewalled by government officials, including the presiding coroner, Dr. Bonita Porter, before the inquest began.

In October 2006, a four-person jury concluded that the cause of Jeffrey’s death was homicide and made recommendations that implied that the undercover police officers involved in Jeffrey’s shooting had not adequately identified themselves and were ill-equipped after leaving all non-lethal use of force options in their unmarked car.  To view the complete coroners jury verdict, please click here.

The Reodica family was represented in the inquest by Barry Swadron and Ameena Sultan..  Swadron was highly critical of the role of the SIU in the investigation of Jeffrey’s death.  “The SIU sent a team of lawyers to the inquest for no apparent purpose other than to shield the SIU and its investigation from scrutiny by the coroner’s jury” he said.  He welcomes the investigation by the Ombudsman’s office The Ombudsman’s report is expected to be released to the public in October.


Inquest into Jeffrey Reodica’s Death to Begin

Jury in Reodica Inquest Recommends Policing Improvements

Justice for Jeffrey Website

Opening Remarks by Ombudsman Andre Marin

SIU Reaction to Ombudsman Announcement