Breathalyzer refuser acquitted because police didn’t have one on them
A Quebec man charged with refusing a breathalyzer was acquitted by the Supreme Court because police didn’t have one on them when he said no.

Mike Campbell

April 21, 2023

A Quebec man charged with refusing a breathalyzer was acquitted by the Supreme Court of Canada because the police didn’t one on them when they charged him. 

Breathalyzer refuser acquitted because police didn’t have one on them

The man originally lost his case in a municipal court but won his appeal.

The crown then appealed the decision, taking it up to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Last Friday, courts held up The Court of Appeals’ decision.

“The Municipal Court judge held that the validity of the demand made by the police officer did not depend on the presence of an [approved screening device] ASD at the scene,” the decision reads.

However, the Court of Appeal found that the police needed to be in possession of an ASD (breathalyzer).

“The court [of Appeal] was of the view that the demand made to [the defendant] by the police officer was invalid due to the absence of an ASD.”

Ultimately the case rested on the interpretation of the word “forthwith,” as the officers charged him with something they were unable to do were he to have complied.

“According to the grammatical and ordinary meaning of the words ‘provide’ and ‘forthwith’ found in this provision,” the decision read, “the driver must ‘supply’ a breath sample to the peace officer ‘immediately’ or ‘without delay’”. 

“The word ‘forthwith’ qualifies the demand under s. 254(2)(b) Cr. C. that stopped drivers must obey. Such drivers are not free to provide a sample when they see fit.”

Last year, the Supreme Court of Canada opened the doors for the justice system to go even easier on Canada’s vilest murderers. 

Supreme Court justices claimed that sentencing murderers to life prison terms with no parole was “degrading” to cold-blooded criminals. 

“The conclusion that imposing consecutive 25-year parole ineligibility periods is unconstitutional must not be seen as devaluing the life of each innocent victim,” wrote the country’s highest court. 

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