SIU investigation into Regis Korchinski-Paquet's death is in 'closing stages,' family's lawyer says
TORONTO -- An SIU investigation into the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, the 29-year-old woman who fell to her death from a Toronto balcony while police were in her apartment, should wrap up in the next few weeks, the family’s lawyer said Wednesday.
Knia Singh, the principal lawyer at MA’AT Legal Services, and members of Korchinski-Paquet’s family held a news conference in Toronto on Wednesday afternoon, confirming that all family members have now been interviewed by the police watchdog, which is in the “closing stages” of its investigation.
Korchinski-Paquet died on the evening of May 27 after falling from the balcony of her apartment, located at 100 High Park Avenue, north of Bloor Street.
Her family previously indicated that she was suffering from a mental health crisis at the time.
Her mother told reporters that she called police in the hope that officers would diffuse the situation and take her daughter to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).
While few details about the incident have been released by police, who are legally bound from speaking about the case due to the SIU investigation, Korchinski-Paquet died minutes after officers arrived at her apartment that night.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Singh said a legal team, which includes former SIU director Howard Morton, has been assembled to conduct a separate investigation into Korchinski-Paquet’s death.
He added that they have ordered a second autopsy, which will be completed by a coroner in Newfoundland.
“It is important that this investigation be clear and transparent. Unfortunately with the history of the SIU, there is many issues that the family and the public have concern with,” Singh said Wednesday.
“The call for the second autopsy is a guarantee that nothing was missed.”
Singh said the results from the autopsy are expected sometime next week and any information that comes from his team’s investigation will not be disclosed until after the SIU releases its report.
Morton, who also spoke to reporters on Wednesday, said based on the evidence he has seen thus far, there is “clearly a basis for a criminal violation.”
“When we know what the result of the SIU investigation is… then we would be more than happy to disclose what our investigation revealed,” Morton said. “…Of course if there are charges, we would not want to prejudice rights to a fair trial on the part of the officers charged so we would not say anything at that time.”
Singh said he expects results from the SIU investigation to be released in the next few weeks.
The family also announced Wednesday that a public memorial will be held for Korchinski-Paquet on July 25 followed by the first annual Regis Korchinski-Paquet Walk For Justice.
"Words can’t even describe how I am feeling right now,” Korchinski-Paquet’s father Peter Korchinski told reporters on Wednesday. “I just want to tell my daughter I love her very much and I will never stop fighting for you until the day I die.”
He described his daughter as a kind, generous, and beautiful person who was the nucleus of their family.
“I just hope everyone comes out on July 25 to support us and put an end to this system of racism in Canada and all over the world,” he said, fighting through tears. “I hope we continue to do this work for Regis and everyone else.”