Client arrested by Edmonton City Police for impaired driving. Upon being advised of his right to call a lawyer, client indicated that he wanted to call. Client taken to a police station and placed in the phone room. Prior to actually speaking to a lawyer, client changed his mind and agreed to provide breathalyzer samples. Client blew over the legal limit and was charged. A review of the disclosure revealed that the officer did not read the “waiver of right to counsel” to client after he changed his mind about speaking to a lawyer. This waiver is to advise the detained person who has previously asserted their right to counsel that the police have a duty to hold off on eliciting evidence until the detainee has had a reasonable opportunity to contact counsel and to ensure that the person still wishes to waive the right. Not guilty pleas were therefore entered, but trial date could not be obtained until August 2013. Client was under an indefinite provincial suspension in the meanwhile. Upon receiving a letter from defence counsel pointing out the Charter issue, along with case law from the Alberta Court of Appeal stating that such a Charter violation was serious, Crown counsel immediately withdrew the charges rather than wait until trial date.
July 3, 2013