Client acquitted of impaired driving and driving over legal limit. Involved in serious motor vehicle accident which took out light pole. Police arrived and found him to smell of liquor from his breath and to stumble twice as he walked across roadway. No roadside screening test performed. Defence served notice that client’s charter rights to be free from arbitrary arrest and search violated on basis officer did not have reasonable grounds to believe accident had occurred within previous 3 hour period or that he was impaired by alcohol, both required by the Criminal Code.
Held: Acquitted both counts.
Court agreed with defence’s submissions that officer simply assumed the accident had happened recently as he had arrived within minutes of dispatch. No circumstantial evidence to support this assumption. Court also agreed that physical symptoms of impairment could be related to client being in serious accident in which his air bag had deployed and/or the icy conditions on the roadway. Client’s self-assessment that he was “fine” not determinative of the issue.