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FOI Results Published Online

When the Spencer decision was rendered, we wanted to see if anything changed to address the concerns raised by the Court. We noticed temporary staffing changes at the OSMV, but no change to the general way IRP hearings, and in particular hearings for refusals were being handled and decided. We made two Freedom of Information requests to try to sort out what was happening. We requested training material, and in particular training material that has been prepared since Spencer was released, and a copy of all Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) review decisions where the allegation was of refusal to blow. So far...

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It Doesn’t Make Sense

Most of the criminal cases we deal with are resolved in Provincial Criminal Court with as little attention as possible and without any lingering questions. This is the way we like it. The nice thing about the court in BC is that, even if you disagree with the outcome, it still usually makes sense. Until the IRP scheme came into place, this is the way we thought of the law in Canada -- it is not always what we would like it to be, but it still makes sense. If you have been through an IRP review, then you know that...

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Challenging Established Beliefs

Challenging established beliefs

If you challenge conventional dogma, you run the risk of being labeled a heretic and you face a midnight arrest and subsequent show trial. If you follow the example of Socrates and defend yourself to the embarrassment of the authorities, you can expect them to come down hard on you. If you partially recant, like Galileo, you may get off easy. But of course, Galileo lived in different times. And when he explained that the earth orbits the sun, the evidence was there for all to see. People knew or suspected that the accepted dogma was likely mistaken. It had become commonly...

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All The News That’s Fit to Bury

IRP News that's fit to bury

The end of April is now upon us and we still have not heard a peep from the New Westminster Police concerning the Port Moody Police. If you have followed our blog, you may recall that we revealed that the Port Moody Police were not following proper procedures in calibrating Approved Screening Devices. We gave this information to the media, and the New Westminster Police were brought in to conduct an investigation. As far as we were concerned, it should have taken no more than 30 minutes to sort the matter out. But that would have required an admission of the...

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A Sigh of Relief in Alberta

Many Albertans had a good night sleep, satisfied in having maintained the status quo, i.e. having stopped the Wild Rose Party from seizing the Provincial Legislature. The turning point was that in the final week it started to become clear that some of the candidates for the upstart party were hillbilly bigots. Or something like that, in any event. So fear took the day, and many who would otherwise have voted Liberal or NDP cast their ballot for the Progressive Conservatives. Noteworthy is that the Progressive Conservatives are far more progressive than they were a decade ago. And Alberta is no...

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Quick IRP Update

Some recent developments on the Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) front. If you have been following closely, you may know that Sivia, for whom the leading case is named, was in fact an ASD refusal allegation. So although this person is commonly referred to as having been successful in the Court challenge, in fact they were not because the decision only found "Fail" scenarios to be a violation of the Charter. We were aware that Sivia did not have much of an argument on the merits of the case, so it was just a matter of time until this petition was...

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Unintentionally Encouraging Charter Violations

Chad Kroeger's case had the effect of encouraging charter violations

Chad Kroeger's over .08 case was a turning point for the police. Like so many before him, Mr. Kroeger (or Turton if you prefer) drank too much one night before driving his Lamborghini through Surrey. He was pulled over by the RCMP and ultimately he provided breath samples in excess of the legal limit.[pullquote]It was a Charter violation -- an unreasonable search and seizure. A search not authorized by law is by definition unreasonable. But what of it?[/pullquote] Whatever you may think of Mr. Kroeger, he is known as a successful businessman and music producer. But in the area of drinking-driving...

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When the Charter Lets You Down

VPD search without a warrant -- find reason later

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms is great -- if the police kick down your door on a whim without a warrant and then refuse to let you call a lawyer, the plastic bag of cannabis they stumble upon in your cupboard will not be evidence considered by the Court to prove any charge against you. You may feel like a victim of crime, but at least you are not going to jail. This is the upside of the Charter. In egregious cases you have a very good chance of getting a remedy, i.e. an acquittal because the Court refuses...

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Celebrate the Charter of Rights

Today is the 30th anniversary of the Charter of Rights. Three decades ago on a windy, rainy day Queen Elizabeth, Pierre Trudeau, Jean Chretien, along with some hangers on and dignitaries, got together in a ceremony to sign the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and patriate (make Canadian) the Constitution. The ceremony was outside. When there was a break in the rain, they pulled everyone on stage. Queen Elizabeth overheard Jean Chretien uttering profanities in French when a pen malfunctioned. They got the papers signed, finished everything up and then it started to rain. Jean Chretien, aside from having been a good...

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Undermining the Charter of Rights

Undermining the Charter of Rights

It is the 30th anniversary of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and as far as we are concerned there should be a national holiday. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms governs all sorts of relationships we have with governments and police. It informs our sense of fairness and the very idea of what we understand Canada to be. We all get a day off for Victoria Day, to celebrate something to do with a British monarch who has been dead for over 100 years and who facilitated the subjugation of peoples around the world by way of nationalistic ethnocentric...

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