Impaired driving charges thrown out over violated rights

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Do you need an interpreter?

Because police failed to give Bikkar Khandal access to a Punjabi interpreter following his arrest on impaired driving charges, a Brampton judge has dismissed the case. The judge was outraged that Mr Khandal’s rights had been violated.

Initially police attempted to accommodate his language need but it didn’t pan out.

So here’s what happened. Back in October 2015, Mr Khandal was arrested at a RIDE spot-check in Mississauga. Once Khandal had been brought to the police division, the arresting officer called duty counsel — who provide free legal advice over the phone to individuals under arrest — and also requested a Punjabi interpreter, according to Monahan’s ruling.

A lawyer was brought in to represent him, but since he spoke English and Mr Khandal had limited understanding of the language, it was determined that Mr Khandal could not have had a proper consultation with counsel.
The Judge excluded the breath sample evidence as a result calling the decision “a relatively easy one” given the circumstances.

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Khandal first blew 140 mg of alcohol in 100 mL of blood — nearly twice the legal limit — and a half-hour later blew 130 mg of alcohol in 100 mL of blood, according to the ruling.

“In my view, notwithstanding that Constable Lupson and Constable Passmore were attempting to act in good faith and notwithstanding that I consider them to be honest witnesses and officers, in my view they fell below the standard of care reasonably expected of them in the circumstances,” Monahan wrote.

He concluded that admitting the breath samples would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

The decision comes about three weeks after a different judge at the same courthouse criticized Peel Regional Police officers who didn’t immediately return a man’s turban following his arrest. That violation resulted in the man’s impaired driving charge being tossed and prompted Peel police Chief Jennifer Evans to order an internal review.

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While many might be happy with this acquittal, it might have been another story had Mr Khandal struck a pedestrian or caused an accident.

In March an Ontario court of justice has acquitted Sukhvinder Rai of impaired charges in relation to the Burlington Skyway crash in 2014 because police mishandled the driver’s blood alcohol test.

While the breath test police took showed dump truck driver Sukhvinder Rai registered nearly three times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood, that evidence was ruled inadmissible because it was obtained too long after the crash.
On one hand it is important for a person’s rights to be upheld at all times, on the other hand can someone who has had their rights violated get away with breaking the law? Operating a vehicle when drunk is also a serious offence that can cause death and destruction. An innocent person could lose his or her life. – CINEWS

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