Interest charge

Police officer remains suspended seven months after death in custody charge dropped

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A London police sergeant remains suspended from duty seven months after a charge against him in the 2019 death of a woman in police custody was dropped.

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The Ontario Police Watchdog charged Sgt. Kevin Lui, 45, for failing to provide the necessities of life on November 13, 2019, death of Amanda Bolt, 28, who died in hospital 10 days after being found unconscious in a cell at police headquarters .

He, who worked as a cell supervisor, was first placed in administrative duties after Bolt’s death, but was suspended after the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) charged him in March 2021.

The Crown dropped the charge against Him on October 18, 2021, according to court records.

Liu remains suspended with pay — Ontario police chiefs do not have the authority to withhold salaries from suspended officers — while the force conducts an internal investigation, spokesperson Const. said Sandasha Bough.

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A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Attorney General did not explain why the charge was dropped, but said the Crown is required to assess the strength of a case throughout the process.

“If the Crown determines at any time that there is no longer a reasonable prospect of conviction or that it is not in the public interest to prosecute, the Crown is obligated to drop the charges,” wrote the Department spokesman Brian Gray in an email. statement.

“In doing so, the Crown takes into account a number of factors and the unique circumstances of each charge in a particular case.”

Because the charge was dropped before the case went to trial, details of Bolt’s death remain unknown, including his cause of death and the evidence that led SIU investigators to charge Liu.

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“The withdrawal of a charge does not mean the charge was improper, and the SIU stands by its charging decision in this case,” SIU spokeswoman Kristy Denette said in a statement sent by e-mail. “The SIU respects the Crown’s decision.

Bolt was arrested on November 2, 2019 and taken to London Police Headquarters, then released. She was arrested again later that day for violating the conditions of her release and placed in a cell, where she entered in medical distress the next morning, the SIU said.

She was given naloxone – a nasal spray used to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses – before being taken to hospital where she died Nov. 13, the SIU said.

Bolt has long struggled with homelessness and drug addiction, but those battles haven’t defined her, her brother previously said.

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He declined to comment on the charge being withdrawn.

Court records show Bolt had a string of minor convictions dating back to 2012 for crimes including assault, mischief and theft. One of her longest stints in prison was in 2017, when she was sentenced to 47 days in pretrial detention for theft. Other convictions resulted in short prison terms, probation and fines.

Liu is the second London police officer to be charged with failing to provide the necessities of life. The SIU laid the charges in both cases.

In September 2020, Const. Nicholas Doering was found guilty of criminal negligence causing death and failure to provide the necessities of life during the death in custody of Debra Chrisjohn four years earlier.

Doering, 31, arrested Chrisjohn, 39, after she was found walking in traffic while high on crystal meth on September 6, 2016. He transferred her to the custody of the Elgin County OPP on an outstanding arrest warrant, falsely telling OPP officers that Chrisjohn had been medically assessed by paramedics, the court heard.

Doering was sentenced to a year in prison, but he appealed the sentence – a procedure which allowed him to keep his job – and is awaiting a decision.

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