WINNIPEG — The Manitoba Court of Appeal has agreed to hear a controversial drunk-driving case that could set a new precedent for the province’s justice officials.
In 2009, Rhys Mitchell was driving with three friends when they were pulled over for having a broken headlight.
The police officer noticed a smell of alcohol coming from inside the car and had Mitchell take a alcohol screening test, which he failed.
Mitchell fought his arrest on the grounds his Charter rights were violated because the arresting officer didn’t have sufficient grounds to make the roadside demand.
He lost his case at the provincial court level, only to have a Queen’s Bench judge overturn his drunk driving conviction and set him free.
The appeal court says the case raises a “significant” legal principle that is in need of clarifying.
“This is an area of the law that affects the administration of justice on a daily basis,” Appeal Court Justice Barbara Hamilton wrote in a decision released this week.
“The appeal will be an opportunity for this court to provide at least some guidance to police, counsel and the courts on what constitutes a reasonable suspicion for an ASD (alcohol screening device) demand.”
» Winnipeg Free Press
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 8, 2012