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It is rare for Ontario judges to be so vocal about what they think of a defendant, but a Greater Sudbury judge had no qualms in telling a 30-year-old man that if he could, he would put the man in jail. This is even after both the man’s criminal defence lawyer and the Crown submitted a joint recommendation to the court asking for a $1,250 fine. Fortunately for the man, the judge recognized that the Crown’s case had sufficient issues, preventing him from convicting the defendant for impaired driving.
It is also fortunate for the man that his lawyer utilized defence strategies to lower his drunk driving charge to careless driving. Had he been convicted of drunk driving, the consequences would have been much more severe and he likely would have lost his license for at least a year. Moreover, the fine could have been larger. Instead, his lawyer was able to show that the Crown would not have enough evidence for a conviction and the charges were lowered.
The man was originally stopped in New Sudbury and officers with the Greater Sudbury Police administered both a roadside breath test and an Intoxilizer test. According to police, he failed all of them. The problems with the Crown’s case, however, go to the timing of the tests.
Instead of testing the man within two hours of being stopped, officers waited much longer to test him. The reason behind the two-hour window is to make sure the results are accurate. By waiting too long to test him, the police reports that indicate the man’s alcohol levels were 160 or 150 may be wholly unreliable. And without reliable evidence, the Crown could not have expected to convict him.
Still, the judge made it quite clear that he believed the man to have been guilty of drunk driving.
Source: The Sudbury Star, “‘Get out of my courtroom,’ Sudbury judge tells driver,” Harold Carmichael, 26 Sept. 2013