In The News

Kyla in Business Intelligence for BC: Could driving without winter tires in B.C. void your insurance?

Priuses spinning out into a snowbank. Buses stuck on hills. And now, snarling traffic leaving hundreds of people stranded in the biggest snowfall of the year.

It’s not uncommon to have snow in Metro Vancouver, but for some reason, it always seems to come unexpected. 

But what happens if you had summer tires on and got in an accident? Can driving your car without winter tires void your insurance coverage if you get in a accident?

No, according to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) — not even on highways where it’s required during the winter months.

There are two things ICBC looks at to assess an insurance claim, says criminal lawyer Kyla Lee — one, are you insured? Do you have certain offences that can invalidate your insurance such as an expired or prohibited licence?

If you drive without snow tires along a mountain highway in the winter, you may be in breach of the law, but not any more than if you were speeding, says the lawyer.

“Not following the rules of the road doesn’t mean you’re not insured,” she said. “You’re still insured, you’re just negligent.”

That could affect how much your insurance will go up or whether or not you have to pay a deductible with the claim.

Read the full story here.

Kyla Lee in The CBA National: Proving discriminatory effects

The Supreme Court of Canada’s 5-4 decision in Sharma has left many in the legal community disappointed with its interpretation of Section 15 Charter rights and in addressing the impact of mandatory minimum sentences on Indigenous people, women in particular. Still, there is reason for optimism that the federal government’s Bill C-5, currently before the Senate, will mark an extra step towards removing some of them from the Criminal Code.

“The outcome is really frustrating,” says Kyla Lee, a criminal defence lawyer with Acumen Law Corporation and the vice-chair of the CBA’s criminal justice section. “There is obviously a significant conflict between Sharma and previous Section 15 decisions, which talks about where the burden lies in proving that something is discriminatory.”

In Sharma, the majority allowed an appeal by the Crown that restored the accused’s sentence of imprisonment, thereby affirming the constitutionality of provisions that restrict the availability of conditional sentences for certain Criminal Code offences — in the case at hand, for importing cocaine. 

Lee takes issue with the majority’s view that it needs statistical and academic evidence showing that eliminating conditional sentencing orders contributes to the over-incarceration of Indigenous people. It should have been able to draw the inference, she says.

Read the full story here.

Kyla Lee in The Growth Op: P.E.I. man sentenced after caught driving with four times the legal limit of THC in his blood

A 21-year-old Prince Edward Island man has been banned from driving for a year and sentenced to 10 days in prison after he was caught high behind the wheel.

Additionally, the man has been ordered to pay $2,600 in fines and surcharges, reports SaltWire.

Initially pulled over for speeding, the responding officer noted the smell of cannabis emanating from the vehicle and possible signs of impairment from the driver, who handed over an expired licence and vehicle registration.

The driver then failed a SoToxa roadside screening test, a device that uses a saliva sample to test for the presence of drugs. A blood sample also revealed the man had a blood-drug concentration of 20 nanograms (ng) of THC in one millilitre of blood, four times the legal limit of 5 ng.

“It can lead to people being arrested who are actually innocent,” Kyla Lee, a lawyer based in Vancouver, told The Canadian Press. “The technology just doesn’t exist yet to allow police to make a determination of impairment via drugs using physical equipment,” Lee added.

Read the full story here.Post navigation

Kyla Lee on CBC News: Woman’s wrongful arrest highlights pitfalls of policing cannabis impairment, experts say

The wrongful arrest of a woman falsely accused of driving while high shines a light on the pitfalls of policing cannabis-impaired driving, say legal experts.

Pam Staples-Wilkinson was arrested in March 2021 after getting in a car accident and later failing a standard field sobriety test conducted by a Fredericton police officer.

However, “serious problems” remain with how officers conduct the two physical tests, said Kyla Lee, a Vancouver defence lawyer who focuses on driving offences.

“Particularly in cases involving collisions, individuals exhibit symptoms when performing the physical tests that police make you do, that are consistent with being in a collision, but also consistent with the consumption of a drug,” she said.

Balance problems, fumbling and slurred speech can all be the symptoms of shock and head injury suffered in a collision.

But they can also be interpreted by a police officer as impairment, giving them grounds to pursue charges, Lee said.

Read the full story here.

Kyla Lee on Global News: Only 32% of B.C. COVID-19 fines paid to date

More than six months after province-wide COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, new data from ICBC shows less than one third of fines issued for violating pandemic health orders have been paid. Kristen Robinson reports.

“Beyond restricting someone’s ability to purchase car insurance or renew their driver’s licence, the government really has no method of collecting unpaid fine revenue”

“The law has no longer been in effect for quite sometime and so people don’t really see the point of it anymore.” – Kyla Lee

Watch the full story here.

Kyla Lee on Global News: B.C. man who killed stranger on bus released from custody on new charges

It’s been almost eight years since an innocent man was fatally stabbed by a stranger on a Kelowna city bus. Tyler Jack Newton was convicted of manslaughter and served time in prison before being released and charged with more offences. Now as Kristen Robinson reports, he’s been released from custody again.

“Because there’s no suggestion of reoffending and no suggestion that he would leave the jurisdiction, bail would be granted. This isn’t a clear case where bail being imposed for some aggravated assault charges would not be abnormal in the circumstances.”

Watch the full story here.

Kyla Lee on CBC News: Surrey RCMP officer accused of instigating confrontation with crowd in Strawberry Hill plaza

An investigation is underway after Surrey RCMP say a group of men “swarmed” an officer’s police cruiser in the Strawberry Hill area of Surrey earlier this month, although a number of witnesses claim the situation was instigated by the officer.

The incident was captured on several videos filmed by members of the public at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Plaza on Sept. 11, just after 9 p.m., when a confrontation took place between a group of South Asian men and the police officer.

Kyla Lee, a Vancouver-based criminal lawyer, says the Surrey RCMP officer’s conduct seen in the videos concerned her. 

“The way that the papers were thrown at the person that he was serving the papers to is far below the standard of professionalism that we expect, and more concerning than that was the very dangerous maneuver the officer made when he pulled out of the parking spot.”

Read the full story here.

Kyla on Global News: ICBC and B.C. courts set to close Monday, health services to remain open

The decision to provide a day off to public sector workers in B.C. on Monday to coincide with the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II is having unintended consequences.

The national holiday means ICBC appointments and court cases will need to be rescheduled. British Columbia announced on Wednesday plans to give all public sector workers and Crown corporation workers the day off.

“I was very disappointed to hear that the courthouses would need to be shut down to mark the passing of the Queen. There are a lot of matters across the province that have been scheduled for a long time and this will have a domino effect on future cases. Each case that has to be rescheduled for Monday is going to push out another case that needs to be moved in order to accommodate the rescheduling of Monday’s hearings”

Watch the full news story here.

Kyla Lee on CBC News: Lawyers weigh in on Freeland incident

Criminal lawyers Kyla Lee of Vancouver and William Jaksa of Toronto say that while a man’s verbal assault on Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland in Alberta last week doesn’t meet the legal definition of uttering threats, he could be open to charges of harassment and causing a disturbance.

“From a legal perspective, I don’t see the behaviour as being threatening within the criminal definition… From a personal perspective and as a woman who’s also public-facing, I could easily see how somebody would feel threatened in that situation and what the law should do, is it should protect people who feel threatened in situations like that and not protect people from these incidents that are on the rise…”

Watch the story here.

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