Two OPP officers charged after SIU investigation

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Two OPP officers charged after SIU investigation

Postby Thomas » Wed Feb 11, 2015 4:13 am

Two OPP officers charged after SIU investigation into Brantford car accident

OPP officers Cons. Craig McMurtrie and Const. Rodney Donald Grubb have been charged in relation with the death of 18-year-old Ashley Lerno.

Two Ontario Provincial Police officers have been charged with criminal negligence and dangerous driving causing death in relation to the death of 18-year-old Ashley Lerno in October, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) said in a statement Tuesday.

OPP Const. Craig McMurtrie and OPP Const. Rodney Donald Grubb are both facing charges of criminal negligence causing death, dangerous driving causing death, and one count of conduct likely to constitute mischief causing actual danger to life.

On Oct. 10, 2014, the officers were conducting a RIDE program at Maple Ave. and Eighth Concession Rd. in Burford when a pickup truck failed to stop. The officers proceeded to try and chase the pickup down and get it to pull over.

According to a news release issued by the SIU, the pickup entered the City of Brantford and was involved in a collision with a vehicle driven by Lerno. She was taken to Hamilton General Hospital, but succumbed to her injuries five days later.

“The Director of the (SIU), Tony Loparco, has reasonable grounds to believe that two officers with the (OPP) Brant County detachment committed criminal offences in relation to the death of 18-year-old Ashley Lerno in October of 2014,” the release reads.

The officers are requited to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice on March 23.

These charges follow a separate SIU investigation into the shooting of 18-year-old Evan Jones on Aug. 25, 2010, also in Brantford. The investigation was reopened after the SIU ruled that Const. Adam Hill of the Brantford police was not criminally liable because he believed a fellow officer was in imminent danger. According to initial reports, Jones had thrown a knife at the officers and threatened them with a meat cleaver.

“Materially new information” caused the SIU to reopen the five-year-old case involving the Brantford Police Service.

The SIU is a watchdog agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury, or allegations of sexual assault.

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015 ... ident.html
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OPP officers charged after SIU probe

Postby Thomas » Wed Feb 11, 2015 4:18 am

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - The province's police watchdog says two provincial police officers are facing charges following an investigation into the death of an 18-year-old woman last October.

The Special Investigations Unit says officers were conducting a RIDE program in Burford, Ont., on Oct. 10, 2014, when a pickup truck didn't stop.

The pickup entered Brantford, Ont., where it collided with a car driven by Ashley Lerno, who died of her injuries five days later.

The SIU says constables Craig McMurtrie and Rodney Donald Grubb are each charged with criminal negligence causing death, dangerous driving causing death, and conduct likely to constitute mischief causing actual danger to life.

The officers are to appear in Brantford court on March 23.

The SIU investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.

By The Canadian Press

http://www.mykawartha.com/news-story/53 ... siu-probe/

http://www.durhamregion.com/news-story/ ... siu-probe/
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Two OPP officers charged in crash that killed woman, 18

Postby Thomas » Wed Feb 11, 2015 4:26 am

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. -- The province's police watchdog says two provincial police officers are facing charges following an investigation into the death of an 18-year-old woman last October.

The Special Investigations Unit says officers were conducting a RIDE program in Burford, Ont., on Oct. 10, 2014, when a pickup truck didn't stop.

The pickup entered Brantford, Ont., where it collided with a car driven by Ashley Lerno, who died of her injuries five days later.

The SIU says constables Craig McMurtrie and Rodney Donald Grubb are each charged with criminal negligence causing death, dangerous driving causing death, and conduct likely to constitute mischief causing actual danger to life.

The officers are to appear in Brantford court on March 23.

The SIU investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.

http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/two-opp-offic ... -1.2230466
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Two OPP officers charged over Brantford crash

Postby Thomas » Wed Feb 11, 2015 4:35 am

BRANTFORD Two Ontario Provincial Police officers have been charged in connection with a crash last fall that lead to the death of an 18-year-old Brantford woman.

The Brant OPP officers were charged Tuesday night by the Special Investigations Unit, which investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.

Ashley Lerno died in Hamilton General Hospital Oct. 15 from injuries she received in a crash five days earlier.

Her car was hit by a pickup truck in Brantford.

The SIU said the pickup truck failed to stop for a RIDE program being conducted by OPP officers at about 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 10 at Maple Avenue and Eighth Concession Road in Burford. It said OPP officers attempted to stop the pickup truck and the truck entered Brantford.

OPP Constable Craig McMurtrie and OPP Constable Rodney Donald Grubb each face criminal negligence causing death, dangerous driving causing death and conduct likely to constitute mischief causing actual danger to life.

The officers are scheduled to appear in Brantford court on March 23.

The SIU declined to make any further comment, noting the matter is now before the courts and in consideration of the fair trial interests of the accused and the community.

http://www.thespec.com/news-story/53329 ... ord-crash/
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Cops charged in teen’s death

Postby Thomas » Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:20 am

Cops charged in teen’s death after stolen truck blows past RIDE stop

BRANTFORD, Ont. — Two Brant County cops are facing charges after a stolen pickup truck avoided a RIDE checkpoint and was involved in a crash that killed an 18-year-old woman.

Ashley Lerno died last October after the vehicle she was driving collided with a stolen pickup truck.

The Special Investigations Unit said that on Oct. 10, officers were conducting a RIDE program — roadside check-stops designed to curb drunk driving — in nearby Burford.

At 11:30 p.m., a Chevrolet pickup failed to stop for the RIDE program, the SIU said.

Ontario Provincial Police officers tried to stop the pickup, to no avail. It drove to Brantford, where it was involved in the fatal crash.

Lerno was taken to Hamilton General Hospital, where she died five days later.

OPP Const. Craig McMurtrie and OPP Const. Rodney Donald Grubb are each charged with criminal negligence causing death, dangerous driving causing death and conduct likely to constitute mischief causing actual danger to life.

They’re due in Brantford court March 23.

"As this matter is now before the courts, and in consideration of the fair trial interests of the accused and the community, the SIU will make no further comment pertaining to this investigation,” the SIU said.

The SIU is an arm's-length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.

Two Brantford men face charges in connection with the crash,

Richard Gamble, 48, is charged with criminal negligence causing death, dangerous driving causing death, flight causing death while being pursued by police, failing to stop at an accident involving bodily harm or death, dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000.

David Gregory, 34, is charged with possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000.

http://www.torontosun.com/2015/02/10/co ... -ride-stop
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OPP Officers Charged In Woman’s Death

Postby Thomas » Wed Feb 11, 2015 2:57 pm

(BRANTFORD, ON) – The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Tony Loparco, has reasonable grounds to believe that two officers with the OPP’s Brant detachment committed criminal offences in relation to the death of 18 year-old Ashley Lerno, in October of 2014. Director Loparco has caused charges to be laid against the officers.

The SIU investigation determined that on October 10, 2014, officers were conducting a RIDE program, at Maple Avenue and Eighth Concession Road, in Burford. At approximately 11:30 pm, a Chevrolet pickup truck failed to stop for the RIDE program.

OPP officers attempted to stop the pickup, but the driver did not stop and instead entered the City of Brantford, where it was involved in a collision, at the intersection of Gilkison Street and Colborne Street West, with a Mercury Marquis, being driven by Ashley Lerno.

Lerno was taken to Hamilton General Hospital for treatment, but succumbed to her injuries on October 15, 2014.

As a result of the SIU investigation, OPP Constables Craig McMurtrie and Rodney Donald Grubb are each facing the Criminal Code charges of one count each of criminal negligence causing death, dangerous driving causing death, and conduct likely to constitute mischief causing actual danger to life.

The officers are required to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice, at 44 Queen Street in Brantford, on March 23.

http://www.windsorsquare.ca/archives/80 ... mans-death
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OPP officers charged in deadly crash

Postby Thomas » Thu Feb 12, 2015 3:12 am

Two Brant county OPP officers are facing criminal charges in connection with a deadly crash in Brantford last October. The province’s special investigations unit says the charges include dangerous driving causing death, and criminal negligence causing death.

Four months after her death, tributes to 18-year-old Ashley Lerno endure at the scene of the crash that killed her. Her obituary calls her the family’s sparkling diamond, and says she will be remembered for her unstoppable sense of humour and her dedication to her mom.

On the evening of October 10th, 2014, Brant OPP officers were holding a ride check at an intersection in Burford. When a pickup truck failed to stop, the officers gave chase. 15 km away, at an intersection in Brantford, Ashley Lerno’s car was broadsided by what police say was a stolen truck in flight from police.

Lerno’s vehicle was rammed into the side of a diner. the evidence is still etched into the bricks.

http://www.chch.com/opp-officers-charged-deadly-crash/
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Two OPP officers charged over Brantford crash

Postby Thomas » Thu Feb 12, 2015 5:50 pm

BRANTFORD Two Ontario Provincial Police officers have been charged in connection with a crash last fall that lead to the death of an 18-year-old Brantford woman.

The Brant OPP officers were charged Tuesday night by the Special Investigations Unit, which investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.

Ashley Lerno died in Hamilton General Hospital Oct. 15 from injuries she received in a crash five days earlier.

Her car was hit by a pickup truck in Brantford.

The SIU said the pickup truck failed to stop for a RIDE program being conducted by OPP officers at about 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 10 at Maple Avenue and Eighth Concession Road in Burford. It said OPP officers attempted to stop the pickup truck and the truck entered Brantford.

OPP Constable Craig McMurtrie and OPP Constable Rodney Donald Grubb each face criminal negligence causing death, dangerous driving causing death and conduct likely to constitute mischief causing actual danger to life.

The officers are scheduled to appear in Brantford court on March 23.

The SIU declined to make any further comment, noting the matter is now before the courts and in consideration of the fair trial interests of the accused and the community.

http://www.therecord.com/news-story/533 ... ord-crash/
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Cases of officers charged in death resumes April 27

Postby Thomas » Tue Mar 24, 2015 7:28 am

The cases of two County of Brant OPP constables charged in connection with the traffic death of a Brantford woman last year were adjourned Monday to a remand date in April.

Constables Craig McMurtrie and Rodney Grubb did not attend their first appearance in Brantford Ontario Court, but a defence counsel appeared on their behalf.

Disclosure was provided to the defence by the Toronto Crown counsel and the matters were adjourned to remand court on April 27.

McMurtrie and Grubb are charged with criminal negligence causing death, dangerous driving causing death and mischief endangering life.

Charges were laid against the officers in February following an investigation by the province's Special Investigations Unit into the Oct. 10, 2014 crash that claimed the life of 18-year-old Ashley Lerno, who died after the vehicle she was driving was in a collision with a stolen pickup truck.

Two Brantford men also face charges in connection with the fatal crash and are to appear in court for a preliminary hearing set for May 6 and 7.

Richard Gamble, 48, is charged with criminal negligence causing death, dangerous driving causing death, flight causing death while being pursued by police, failing to stop at an accident involving bodily harm or death, dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000.

David Gregory, 34, is charged with possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000.

The SIU earlier indicated that on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014 officers were conducting a RIDE program at Maple Avenue and Eighth Concession Road in Burford. At about 11:30 p.m., a Chevrolet pickup failed to stop for the RIDE program.

OPP officers attempted to stop the pickup. The pickup did not stop and entered the City of Brantford where it was involved in the collision.

Lerno was taken to Hamilton General Hospital, but succumbed to her injuries five days later.

http://www.simcoereformer.ca/2015/03/23 ... s-april-27

http://www.brantfordexpositor.ca/2015/0 ... s-april-27
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Trial date set for two OPP officers

Postby Thomas » Fri Sep 09, 2016 7:46 am

A three-week trial has been scheduled for two Brant OPP officers charged in the 2014 death of an 18-year-old Brantford woman.

Constables Craig McMurtrie and Rodney Grubb will face a trial by judge and jury beginning March 20.

A judge determined in June that there was sufficient evidence for the case to go forward.

The two officers are charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death.

Ashley Lerno died of injuries suffered when the car she was driving was broadsided by a stolen pickup truck in Brantford.

The officers were charged after an investigation into the crash by the province's Special Investigations Unit.

On Oct. 10, 2014, officers were conducting a RIDE program - roadside check-stops designed to curb drunk driving - at Maple Avenue and Eighth Concession Road in Burford. At 11:30 p.m., a Chevrolet pickup failed to stop for the RIDE program, the SIU said.

OPP officers tried to stop the pickup, to no avail. It drove to Brantford, where it it struck Lerno's vehicle at Gilkison Street and Colborne Street West.

Lerno was taken to Hamilton General Hospital, where she died five days later.

Two Brantford men, who were in the stolen truck, have been convicted in connection with the crash.

Richard Gamble, 50, found guilty of criminal negligence causing death, dangerous driving causing death, failing to stop at an accident involving bodily harm or death and driving while disqualified. David Gregory, 35, was found guilty of possession of stolen property over $5,000.

Both will return to court on Oct. 11 for sentencing.

The officers each testified at a June trial for Gamble and Gregory but read a formal objection to all questions. They each received protection from incriminating themselves during their testimony, under Section 5 of the Canada Evidence Act.

McMurtrie and Grubb's case is being prosecuted by a Crown attorney from the police prosecutions unit of the Ontario Attorney General's office in Toronto.

http://www.brantfordexpositor.ca/2016/0 ... p-officers
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OPP officers plead guilty

Postby Thomas » Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:09 pm

A three-week trial set to begin next week has collapsed with the guilty pleas of two Brant OPP officers.

Constables Craig McMurtrie and Rodney Grubb had been charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death in connection with a wild police chase that ended with the death of Brantford’s 18-year-old Ashley Lerno.

On Tuesday in a Hamilton court, they each pleaded guilty to mischief likely to endanger life by failing to end a pursuit when required by duty to do so.

Ontario law demands police officers engaged in chases must continually reassess the risk to public safety in the pursuit versus the risk if the fleeing vehicle isn’t stopped and the driver apprehended.

The two officers were conducting a road-side RIDE program on Oct. 10, 2014, in Burford when they saw a pickup truck try to evade police attention.

The officers followed the vehicle from the outskirts of Burford to Brantford’s core area, with the chase taking the trio of vehicles off-road at times. They also went down a one-way road and reached speeds of 160 km-h while still out of town. At one point, the stolen vehicle in the lead tried to ram one of the cruisers.

In Brantford, at Gilkison Street and Colborne Street West, the stolen vehicle broadsided a Mercury Marquis being driven by Lerno, flipping the car into the air. Lerno died five days later in hospital and her passenger was left with life-long injuries.

The accident scene was taken over by the province’s Special Investigations Unit which, in February 2015, charged McMurtrie and Grubb with the criminal offences.

It was the first time the SIU laid charges against Brant County OPP officers.

The stolen pickup truck was driven by Richard Gamble who, at his trial, offered a story about an acquaintance whose name he couldn’t quite recall being the driver.

Gamble was convicted of criminal negligence causing death, dangerous driving causing death, failing to stop at an accident involving bodily harm or death, and driving while disqualified. His passenger, David Gregory, was found guilty of possession of stolen property over $5,000 because the vehicle was part of a burn-and-earn scam to claim insurance money.

Gamble admitted to being involved in the stolen tobacco business and has an extensive record with 80 convictions over 34 years, including dangerous and impaired driving convictions. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Gregory was sentenced to three months.

The men were sentenced in October 2016 after McMurtrie and Grubb testified at their trial, receiving protection from incriminating themselves during testimony.

Ashley Lerno’s mother, Joanne Lerno, said she was glad of the substantial sentence handed down to Gamble but said it couldn’t bring back her daughter, who she called her best friend.

The case against the OPP officers has been handled by a lawyer from the Toronto Crown attorney’s office in order to avoid any conflict of interest locally.

In an agreed statement of facts about the case, the Crown admitted McMurtrie and Grubb’s driving didn’t cause Lerno’s death or actual danger to life.

McMurtrie and Grubb admitted their failure to end the escalating chase as they entered Brantford obstructed and/or interfered with the use and operation of the roadways in the city and could have endangered life.

A sentence will be handed down Friday in Hamilton court.

http://www.brantfordexpositor.ca/2017/0 ... ead-guilty
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Re: Two OPP officers charged after SIU investigation

Postby Thomas » Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:21 pm

HAMILTON - Tears and hugs greeted a Hamilton court decision as two Brant OPP officers were given an absolute discharge after pleading guilty earlier this week to their involvement in a wild police chase that ended with the death of Brantford’s Ashley Lerno.

Constables Craig McMurtrie and Rodney Grubb were embraced by their families and Lerno’s mother, who wept with them.

“I’m really, really, really thankful for the outcome for both of them”, Joanne Lerno said outside the courtroom.

“They’re both amazing officers and they didn’t deserve anything else.”

Lerno said the officers had both expressed their sorrow to her and she and they had bonded over the experience.

“They have to live with this and that’s more than anybody should have to handle.”

After an investigation by the province’s Special Investigations Unit, the officers had been charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death in the Oct. 10, 2014 incident where a stolen pickup truck slammed into Lerno’s vehicle.

Insiders say it may be the first time a police officer has pleaded guilty to any charge in connection with a police chase.

The driver, Richard Gamble, was found guilty of those same charges plus driving while disqualified and failing to stop at an accident involving bodily harm or death. A repeat offender with dozens of driving related convictions, Gamble was sentenced in October last year to 13 years in prison.

McMurtrie and Grubb pleaded not guilty to their charges and were to begin a three-week trial on Monday.

Justice George Gage said in a written decision that the constables pleas of guilt, bail conditions and the “cloud of criminal prosecution” they had lived under for two years were more than enough of a punishment as he granted their discharge.

“The added element of criminal conviction is entirely unnecessary to make the point,” said Gage.

The judge said police officers are ordered to make a continuing reassessment of things during a police chase. It should have been apparent that Gamble wasn’t going to stop his vehicle voluntarily and was likely to continue driving recklessly and dangerously.

But, he said, the circumstances of the event were “both rapidly evolving and highly stressful.”

“They did not have the luxury of calm and considered reflection and review that hindsight affords,” said Gage.

“In these circumstances, I find that their moral culpability is substantially attenuated.”

Assistant Crown attorney Peter Scrutton, from Toronto, went to Superior Court just before the judge read his decision and dropped the charges of criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death.

But Scrutton had argued the officers should have been sentenced to pay a $3,500 fine in order to act as a deterrent to other officers about high-speed police chases.

Gage disagreed, saying that police operate knowing that an officer who doesn’t make the right assessment during a chase but is otherwise acting in good faith can still face criminal charges, which is a powerful deterrent to all officers.

“The expressions of utter mortification on the faces of McMurtrie and Grubb as they entered their pleas poignantly underscores the validity of this conclusion,” said Gage.

McMurtrie and Grubb were on duty Oct. 10, 2014 conducting a RIDE program just outside Burford when they saw a pickup truck make a U-turn away from them. Concluding it was someone trying to evade the police, they followed, using lights and sirens to try and stop the truck.

Gamble, then 48, and his passenger, David Gregory, then 34, sped away, starting a 10-km chase that included going the wrong way along Ballantyne Drive, tearing across a residential lawn, going off-road by D’Aubigny Creek and side-swiping one of the cruisers.

Although speeds reached as high as 160 km-h outside of town, inside Brantford city limits, McMurtrie and Grubb slowed to the speed limit while Gamble continued to speed. “Over the last one to two minutes of the event,” said Gage, “the actions of the officers were no longer a direct influence on Gamble’s driving.”

Gamble went through the intersection at Gilkison and Colborne Street West, causing devastating injuries to 18-year-old Lerno and a girlfriend. Lerno died in hospital five days later.

Gamble said it wasn’t him in the driver’s seat but a judge declared his testimony to be unreliable. With numerous convictions for driving offences, including dangerous and impaired driving, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

McMurtrie and Grubb, on the other hand, have been upstanding community members and “highly regarded and valued” members of the Brant OPP since 2010, said Gage.

The father of four, McMurtrie has received commendations from the city, the county and the government of Ontario and been cited by the public for his courtesy, compassion and care while exercising his duties.

Grubb is a decorated veteran who was injured in battle in September 2006 when he served with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment in Afghanistan.

Both of the officers were involved in the community event that brought an early Christmas to St. George to fulfil a wish of young Evan Leversage who was dying from cancer.

The emotional and clearly relieved officers declined to comment about their sentence, as did each of their lawyers who said the judge’s decision spoke for itself.

But Bill MacKenzie, who represented McMurtrie, said the actions of Joanne Lerno had been important to the officers.

“Ashley’s mom is here and she hugged the officers and their wives and has been very supportive of them through the process. That was hugely meaningful to them.”

OPP spokesperson Dave Rektor declined to comment on the decision, saying the case will be reviewed by the OPP’s professional standards bureau.

What's an absolute discharge?

A judge can hand down an absolute discharge to a person who pleads guilty but is an otherwise upstanding member of society who would be significantly harmed by a criminal record. It can't be against the public interest when it comes to legal issues like deterrence or rehabilitation.

While a conditional record leaves the person with rules to follow – like keeping the peace and being of good behaviour – an absolute discharge means there's no criminal conviction or criminal record.

After one year, an absolute discharged is automatically pardoned and wiped from the record.

http://www.brantfordexpositor.ca/2017/0 ... ischarge-2
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