*Names have been changed to protect client privacy.
253 (1) (a): Impaired operation of a motor vehicle.
253 (1) (b): Operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration that exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood.
BACKGROUND: A witness reported seeing a car run onto a median and collide with a street light on Innes Road. The witness followed the driver of the vehicle, Peter, after he left his car and proceeded on foot. Paramedics arrived on the scene, and Peter agreed to be examined in an ambulance prior to the arrival of police. When officers came onto the scene, they smelled alcohol on Peter’s breath and administered a test that resulted in a reading of “F” or fail. Peter was later arrested and brought into the police station, where he completed two additional breath tests that showed him to be over the legal blood alcohol limit.
GOALS: Andrew’s employment depended on him avoiding a criminal record, so that was our main goal. When I was hired to represent him, I reviewed the case and decided that there were sufficient grounds to set a trial date. His employment and maintaining a clean record depended on winning the trial.
STRATEGY: It was my belief that the Crown violated Peter’s rights under Sections 11 (b), and 24 (1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. There were a number of problems with the scheduling of the trial which, in my opinion, caused unreasonable delay.
- The trial, after several adjournments, commenced more than 19 months after the date of the charge.
- I argued that not all efforts to serve a witness in the trial were exhausted by the Crown and that the Crown contributed to the delay of proceedings.
The judge dismissed all charges against Peter. He concluded that the Crown and police had not done enough to find a witness that had moved to British Columbia, and that the Crown did indeed contribute to Peter being denied his right to a trial within a reasonable time under section 11 (b) of the Charter.