Verdict expected for London police officer charged in Indigenous woman’s death


LONDON, Ont. — A verdict is expected today in the case of a London, Ont., police officer charged in the death of an Indigenous woman.

Const. Nicholas Doering stood trial by judge alone charged with one count each of failure to provide the necessaries of life and criminal negligence causing death.

Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit alleged that Doering interacted with Debra Chrisjohn at some point between her arrest on Sept. 6, 2016, and her death later that night.

The unit, which probes incidents involving police where someone is killed, injured or accused of sexual assault, said Doering was among those who responded to a call for a traffic obstruction in London the day she died.

Police found the 39-year-old woman at the scene and arrested her, only to discover that she was wanted on an outstanding charge in nearby Elgin County.

She died after being transferred from the custody of London police to the provincial force to answer the outstanding charge.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Renee Pomerance is expected to hand down her verdict at noon.

According to Caitlyn Kasper, a lawyer representing the Chrisjohn family, court heard that Chrisjohn and Doering left the scene in London in the back seat of cruiser.

By the time she reached the provincial police detachment, Kasper said Chrisjohn was largely unresponsive. She died later that day.

Doering’s defence lawyer did not immediately respond to request for comment ahead of the verdict.