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Watchdog urges Toronto police to stop leaking information on balcony death

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Watchdog urges Toronto police to stop leaking information on balcony death

TORONTO — Ontario’s police watchdog says relatives of a Toronto woman who died after falling from her balcony last week have postponed speaking with investigators, citing concerns about possible leaks from police sources regarding the case.

The Special Investigations Unit says counsel for the family of 29-year-old Regis Korchinski-Paquet told the agency such leaks undermine their clients’ trust in the investigation.

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, the SIU stressed police are prohibited from discussing an incident under investigation by the watchdog precisely to protect the credibility of its work.

It said disclosing such information can also delay the investigative process, “as seems to have occurred here with the cancellation of the family interviews.”

The agency said it has written to the Toronto force to ask that it take immediate steps to prevent “further releases of information about what occurred inside the apartment.”

A story published in the Toronto Sun on Wednesday says unnamed sources told the paper Korchinski-Paquet used a heavy appliance to block her balcony door before she fell to her death.

Toronto police could not immediately be reached for comment.

Korchinski-Paquet fell from a 24th-floor balcony last Wednesday while police were in her home, and her family has questioned the role of officers in her death.

The woman’s mother said last week she called police to the apartment and asked them to take her daughter to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. 

Toronto’s mayor and police chief have called on the SIU to expedite its investigation, a process that typically takes months.

The agency said Monday its investigators had spoken with all six officers who were at the home, as well as four other witnesses.

It also said its team found video security footage.

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