June 2015

Penalties for Distracted Driving

Today the BC Government made an announcement in the middle of its public consultation process about the penalties for distracted driving. Their thinking is that drivers are not getting the message about distracted driving, and so the penalty must increase to stop the behaviour. One of the suggestions the Government is looking at implementing? License suspensions and vehicle impoundment. That’s right, the Government is currently seriously considering taking your car and your license away on the spot if you’re ticketed for using a cell phone while driving.

British Columbia’s DUI Laws at the Supreme Court of Canada


In May of this year, the Supreme Court of Canada heard arguments in two cases on the BC Government’s Immediate Roadside Prohibition scheme. I was fortunate to be granted leave to appeal the decision in the Wilson case, and presented my argument to the court first thing that morning. The room was packed with lawyers who have more experience at this level than me, who had been practicing for years, and for many of whom it was one of many trips they have already made in their careers.

There were two cases being heard that morning – the Wilson case and the Sivia/Goodwin case. The second case was about the constitutional challenge to the IRP laws, while my case pertained to whether an officer has to have reasonable grounds beyond just the reading on the ASD in order to issue the prohibition.

Federal Government has Passed the Victims Bill of Rights

As of June 18, 2015 it’s official: the Federal Government has passed the Victims Bill of Rights and it has been made law by Royal Assent. While there are compelling reasons to ensure that victims in a criminal trial process are heard and had a voice, the manner in which it was achieved by Parliament is not something that I believe is effective or consistent with a fair, just, and free and democratic society. The Bill functions to eliminate the rights of those charged with an offence, in favor of adding rights to victims.

Thoughts on MADD Canada’s 2015 Provincial Impaired Driving Report

Because I’ve been an impaired driving lawyer for a few years, I have learned that it’s not wise to trust the headlines regarding impaired driving statistics. Particularly when it comes to anything reported or suggested by MADD Canada. They are, after all, a lobby group with a particular interest. They have a discernible bias in what they report and how they report it. To accept what they say at face value would be akin to accepting the conclusion that McDonald’s is healthy in a study funded by the restaurant chain.

Today I listened to a show on CKNW’s Simi Sara show regarding MADD Canada’s latest report. I wanted to write a short blog post about my thoughts on MADD Canada’s 2015 Provincial Impaired Driving Report.

Cst. Millington Sentence for Perjury – should we hold police to a higher standard?


Today we heard the first sentence to be given out in the Robert Dziekanski perjury trials. Constable Kwesi Millington and Corporal Monty Robinson were convicted of perjury, while their fellow officers Constable Bill Bentley and Constable Gerry Rundel were acquitted after trial. The Court sentenced Constable Millington to 30 months of jail time.

The sentence has surprised many, because it is a lengthy jail term for someone who previously had no criminal record or history of criminal behaviour. Many people have wondered why such a significant jail term was handed down in these circumstances, while arguably more serious offenders are given shorter jail sentences or even no jail.

Your 90-Day Prohibition for DUI and Time


In my last post, I discussed the changes to the BC Motor Vehicle Act that were underway. As expected, the legislation passed. Many of the changes the Government touted as positive have already come into effect, including the left-lane hog aspects of the changes. The Government made a big deal out of announcing this when it happened. But there were also changes slowly implemented that Government hasn’t advertised to the public. These are the changes to the drinking and driving legislation.

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