Archive for September, 2010

Impaired driving charges dropped because police destroyed crucial evidence.

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

A Regina Saskatchewan judge ordered a stay of proceedings against a man who was facing impaired driving charges.

Why?

Because the RCMP destroyed evidence, and that deprived the accused of the opportunity to make full answer and defence to the charges.

I spoke with Regina impaired driving lawyer Chris Macleod, who was the lawyer for the defendant, Mr. Banford. Here’s what Chris had to say:

“In the Banford I’d made a timely request for full disclosure including video recordings of my client. The disclosure package I received did not include a copy of the video recording taken of my client at the RCMP detachment. This evidence is often crucial to determine what signs of impairment, if any, an accused displayed while under arrest, whether the breath test was properly conducted and whether the accused was accorded their rights under the Carter of Rights and Freedoms. I made additional requests for full disclosure, but the video evidence was never provided. I discovered that it had been destroyed, not by mistake or error, but by the RCMP recording system, which systematically destroys digital recordings after a period of 60 days. I argued that this denied my client the opportunity to make full answer and defence to the charges he was facing. The court agreed, and ordered that the charges could not proceed against my client (the charges were “stayed”).” (more…)