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Vancouver Criminal Law Blog
Acumen Law Corporation > Blog (Page 21)

The police, the evidence and the forensic analysis of a DUI case

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We explained in an earlier video that the police are special witnesses in that they have been trained to collect evidence, record evidence and present evidence. What we do as impaired driving defence lawyers is we conduct a forensic analysis of the evidence. We obtain the police reports, photos, notes and when possible video. We go over it, we pick it apart and we dig. If you watch any of the forensic tv shows, you'll usually see the police trying to piece together something from evidence they locate. In impaired driving cases, the police are usually the eye witnesses to the evidence....

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Reverberations of the SCOC decisions

SCOC decisions

Some version of the IRP law will remain in place in BC, at least for the next few years. That's the obvious conclusion from the Supreme Court of Canada decisions and the decision in Bro.[pullquote]Without a doubt aspects of the IRP constitutional challenges could have been handled better. That's not to say that anyone did a poor job.[/pullquote] For us we've spent the last 10 days dealing with the reverberations of the SCOC decisions. On a personal level there is the emotional commitment to the ongoing challenges to the IRP scheme. Operating with the knowledge that two levels of court had...

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BC drunk driving laws will continue to be battled in court

We will fight these cases in court says Doroshenko

Drunk driving charges in British Columbia are likely to continue to be battled in court, despite a recent decision from the Supreme Court of Canada, say lawyers familiar with the case.[pullquote]"This spin that they've had all along that this is the toughest drunk driving law in the country is absolute garbage," said Doroshenko.[/pullquote] Earlier this year, RCMP in Tofino and Vernon calibrated their breathalyzers with the wrong gas, according to documents obtained through a freedom of information request. As a result, 51 drivers had their suspensions reversed. Lawyers worry there could be others who get punished, even though they're not actually impaired. "You're...

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Province cancels dozens of IRPs due to RCMP mistakes

Province cancels IRPs

The provincial government has quietly cancelled over 70 roadside suspensions after learning RCMP had been using incorrect gas to calibrate their breathalyzers. It’s policy that they use certified gas and they were not.[pullquote]The government’s been doing everything to keep this in the can,” he tells us. [/pullquote] These details were obtained through a Freedom of Information request. It’s 70 pages of correspondence between staff with the Ministry of Justice and the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles, discussing how they will tell the people affected and what the minister should say to the media if asked. It includes a copy of the letter sent to 39 drivers...

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Not what you wanted – SCC rules on IRPs

Not what you wanted

The decision came down early this morning and within minutes it hit the news. The bottom line is that nothing changes for people who were issued an IRP between June 15, 2012 and today. The court has given the rubber stamp to the status quo. SCC rules on IRPs The first version of the IRP scheme is still unconstitutional. The decision confirmed that finding, originally held by the BC Supreme Court and BC Court of Appeal. No change there. The first version of the IRP scheme was unconstitutional, but that's not the version in effect today. The lawyers for the drivers had hoped...

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General to specific: defective breathalyzer update

General to the specific

In the next few hours we'll get a decision from the Supreme Court of Canada in Goodwin/Sivia and Wilson. It's going to be an interesting day. Defective breathalyzer update In the meantime, we need to tell you about the decision we received Thursday in the judicial reviews we did for two clients who blew into breathalyzers in the defective range. These are the cases we advanced because of the systematic defects Paul identified in a certain range of ASDs purchased in the summer of 2010. Our argument in court was that the adjudicator was wrong in concluding that Paul’s affidavit (which many of...

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Big IRP shakeout

Big IRP Shakeout

This week is the big IRP shakeout. Early Friday morning the Supreme Court of Canada will issue the decisions in Sivia (Goodwin) v. the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles and Wilson v. the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles. Both cases arise from the major challenges to the Immediate Roadside Prohibition law which first came into effect on September 20, 2010.[pullquote]The Supreme Court of Canada usually only permits appeals to be heard if they have a plan on rendering a decision that has some significant legal impact.[/pullquote] Timing of the appeals We argued Wilson on May 19, 2015 right before the arguments in the Sivia...

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The steps of a DUI police investigation

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In this video I will tell you about the steps of a DUI police investigation. There have been drunk driving laws for just over 100 years, so shortly after the car was invented. And before the invention of the car, there were traffic police in major cities dealing with horses and buggies. So enforcement of drunk driving laws is nothing new. [pullquote]The fact of an accident may do little for the police in building their case.[/pullquote] The steps of a DUI police investigation haven't changed that much over the decades. It all starts with observations of driving. The police may be looking for...

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Tactical IRP misinformation


When we received the information that led to our Red Alert blog post, we knew that something fishy was happening over at RoadSafetyBC. Immediately, we made a request pursuant to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for copies of all internal correspondence, memorandums, and other documents created in relation to their sudden policy change.[pullquote]In this case the BC Government was using this sort of reasoning to make their policy decisions. If it wasn't so pathetic and damaging it would be funny.[/pullquote] You may remember that the Red Alert was issued in December, 2014. We received the records on...

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