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Canada Police violated rights of man who was put in locked cop car, judge rules in upholding acquittal

18:27  12 december  2019
18:27  12 december  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

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A judge has upheld a ruling that a man charged with impaired driving who was put in the back of a locked police car had his Charter rights violated because that action had "a significant impact on his liberty."

Justice Sandra Chaytor agreed with the trial judge who said putting the man in the car was not necessary for this situation.

The trial judge also excluded the breath sample obtained from the man and he was ultimately acquitted.

The incident happened Oct. 26 in what the ruling only identifies as a residential area. The first officer on the scene said the driver had constricted pupils and believed he was under the influence, according to the facts of the case outlined in the decision.

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The officer said she wanted to question the man, and that because it was raining, she told him to sit in the back of the police cruiser.

a close up of a light: It was not necessary for a police officer to put a man suspected of impaired driving in the back of a locked police car, said a judge in dismissing the Crown's appeal of the trial judge's decision.© Provided by cbc.ca It was not necessary for a police officer to put a man suspected of impaired driving in the back of a locked police car, said a judge in dismissing the Crown's appeal of the trial judge's decision.

He was read his rights and invoked his right to speak to a lawyer, which the officer complied with by calling a lawyer on her cellphone. She then opened the police car door to hand him the cellphone.

When she did that, according to court documents, she smelled alcohol on his breath and then asked for a breath sample. It registered as a fail, or being above the legal limit. He was charged with impaired operation of a motor vehicle.

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Ignorance of Charter rights 'must not be rewarded'

The trial judge said it was not necessary for the man to be put in the car during the incident and acquitted him.

The Crown appealed, but in her decision, Chaytor said there were no errors in law made in the original decision by the trial judge.

The officer "acted in good faith" in helping to facilitate the man's right to a lawyer, but "ignorance of Charter standards must not be rewarded or encouraged and negligence or willful blindness cannot be equated with good faith," according to Chaytor's ruling.

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