Toronto Criminal Lawyer

Refuse Breath Sample — Toronto Impaired Driving Lawyer

Client:  M.P., Accused
Complainant:  Ontario Provincial Police, Orillia
Charge:  refuse breath sample into approved instrument

The Queen v. M.P.
Ontario Court of Justice, Orillia
Judge Collins
(disclosure ordered: 19 January 2012)

Crown:  B. Bhangu, Assistant Crown Attorney, Orillia
Defence:  Craig Penney, Toronto Refuse Breath Sample Lawyer, Orillia

¶ 1  This has been an application by the defence for disclosure of the identity of a ride-along civilian. The civilian was in the passenger seat of the cruiser. We do know that the vehicle driven by the defendant came upon the left-hand side of the cruiser at a high rate of speed, made a turn, and eventually was pulled over by the police constable. The officer alighted from his vehicle and had some dialogue with the defendant before the defendant got out of his vehicle. The civilian, in accordance with the police practice, was instructed to remain in the passenger seat of the cruiser.

¶ 2  The defence takes the position that the matter of the civilian ride-along just came to the attention of the defence a very few days ago, I think about six. The defence then requested disclosure of the identity of the ride-along civilian for the purpose of being able to interview her to determine what, if anything, she witnessed.

¶ 3  The matter had not been disclosed earlier by the police on the grounds that the ride-along civilian has comparatively limited opportunity to make observations of the speed and indications of impairment of the defendant. Furthermore, the officer points out that she wouldn't have been trained to really focus on these matters.

¶ 4  There was a point at which she would have been able to witness, through the windshield, the walking of the defendant and his balance. Once the defendant was in the back seat of the cruiser, she would have been in a position, in all likelihood, to hear any further words from the defendant. When they got to the detachment, it appears that she followed the officer and the defendant into the detachment.

¶ 5  The Crown argues that she may not have been paying full attention, and the Crown points out that she would have no notes. She was therefore a ride-along and had volunteered to participate. One would certainly expect that she would have paid pretty close attention to what was going on.

¶ 6  I am of the view that the defence is entitled to know her identity so that the defence can determine what, if anything, she actually witnessed that could be of use to this Court; and accordingly, I am obliged, I think, to render an Order that the police turn over that information to the Crown, and that the Crown, it turn, turn it over to the defence.

The Queen v. M.P.
Ontario Court of Justice, Orillia
Judge Beatty
(careless driving plea: 20 June 2012)

Crown:  D. Russell, Assistant Crown Attorney, Orillia
Defence:  Craig Penney, Toronto DWI Criminal Attorney, Orillia

¶ 1 MR PENNEY:  Good morning, Your Honour. Mr. P., if you could come forward please? I understand that a Highway Traffic Act information has been sworn, Your Honour, and I'm consenting to that Information having been sworn out of time. When Madam Clerk is ready, if he could please be arraigned on that information. Listen carefully please Mr. P.

¶ 2 CROWN:   Your Honour, just prior to arraignment, I want to indicate to the Court that defence had requested to find out information from a civilian ride along, and I had the opportunity to speak to her today. The information that she possessed tied directly into the rights to counsel issue with sufficient reliability that would cause me to go to this particular ...

¶ 3 THE COURT:  Thank you.

¶ 4 CLERK:  Mr. P., you are charged on or about the 21st day of August 2011, at Andrew Street between Colborne Street West and Mississauga Street West, Orillia, Ontario, did commit the offence of careless driving, contrary to Section 130 of the Highway Traffic Act. How do you plead to this charge?

¶ 5 M.P.:  Guilty

¶ 6 CLERK:  Thank you, just have a seat.

¶ 7 CROWN:  Your Honour, the allegations are on Sunday August 21st , 2011, the officer - police officer was on patrol. At 3:10 in the morning he observed a motor vehicle proceeding on Wyandotte Street at a perceived higher rate of speed than the posted speed of 50 kilometres per hour. It stopped at the intersection of Wyandotte and Mississaga, turned right. As it did, he noticed a tail light was out and he pursued the vehicle, stopped it just up at the next — sorry, the intersection after that, Andrew Street, and approached the driver. The driver was the accused and through investigation of the driver, the officer had — could smell alcohol on his breath and undertook an investigation with respect to impairment and took him back to the station for that purpose. Those are the allegations.

¶ 8 MR PENNEY:  Your Honour, we can specifically add to those facts that Mr. P. was speeding at the time, and he was speeding as a result of his inattention while driving. So he admits to driving without due care and attention and speeding as a result and would please ask Your Honour to find him guilty of that offence.

¶ 9 THE COURT:  Thank you, Mr Penney. The plea is accepted. There will be a conviction entered on this count. Any record being alleged by the Crown?

¶ 10 CROWN:  No record alleged by the Crown.

¶ 11 THE COURT:  Thank you. Mr Penney?

¶ 12 MR PENNEY:  It's a joint submission, Your Honour, for a $500 fine plus the automatic victim fine surcharge with no probation and no suspension.

¶ 13 THE COURT:  And time to pay on that?

¶ 14 MR PENNEY:  Sixty days, Your Honour, will be sufficient.

¶ 15 THE COURT:  Okay. Particulars of your client?

¶ 16 MR PENNEY:  Stand up please, Mr. P. I'm sorry, could you just state your address?

¶ 17 M.P.: [his address,] Ontario.

¶ 18 MR PENNEY:  That's the present address on the information. Thank you, Your Honour.

¶ 19 THE COURT:  Thank you. I presume your client is employed ...

¶ 20 MR PENNEY:  Yes, Your Honour. He's self employed, Your Honour, in the construction industry, and there's no issue with respect to his ability to pay.

¶ 21 THE COURT:  Okay.

¶ 22 CROWN:  I agree it's a joint position on sentence, sir.

¶ 23 THE COURT:  Is there anything your client would like to say before sentencing?

¶ 24 M.P.:   No, no thank you.

¶ 25 THE COURT:  All right, sir. I'm accepting the joint submission of dealing with this by way of fine, that being the amount of $500. The usual surcharges will be added by the provincial court, sixty days to pay.

¶ 26 CLERK:   And the Criminal Code charge?

¶ 27 CROWN:  Withdrawn.