SIU lays charge against London officer in woman’s death

The Special Investigations Unit file photo by Maureen Revait

Over one year after her death, Ontario’s police watchdog has charged a London police officer concerning the death of Amanda Bolt.

On November 2, 2019, the 28-year-old woman was arrested at her home and taken to police headquarters where she was later released. Later the same day, Bolt was arrested again for allegedly breaching her conditions and put into a cell at the police station.

The next morning she was given Naloxone after officers found her in medical distress. Bolt was then taken to hospital and placed on life support. She died in hospital ten days after that. Following her death, four investigators and a forensic investigator were assigned to the case.

On Wednesday, Director Joseph Martino of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) announced that there are reasonable grounds to believe that a police officer on-duty during Bolt’s time in jail committed a criminal offence in connection to her death. As a result, Sergeant Kevin Lui has been charged with one count of failing to provide the necessities of life.

London Police Chief Steve Williams calls the charge “serious” and says it will be properly dealt with in court. Williams, who said he is unable to comment on the details of the investigation did confirm that following Bolt’s death, the SIU was contacted and Lui was transferred to administrative duties. Additionally, Chief Williams added that they conducted a “comprehensive audit” of the London Police Service’s procedures and processes relating to the care and detention of people who are arrested.

“For now, we must let the judicial process run its course,” said Williams in a statement released on Wednesday. “I am fully committed to following through on our review to determine how we may be able to improve our processes to enhance the safety of all persons who come into our care, as well as the officers who serve this community and put themselves in harm’s way on a daily basis.”

Lui has since been suspended from all police duties with pay. Provisions of the police services act do not allow for suspension without pay under such circumstances. Changes to Lui’s suspension may change as more information comes out. He is to appear in court on March 24.