Diego L. came to Canada from Cuba in 2007 and worked in construction. Although he spoke and understood a bit of English, his level of understanding and ability to speak English was very limited.
One day while driving home a police officer from the Ontario Provincial Police saw his vehicle swerving in its lane on Highway 417.
After pulling the vehicle over, it became clear to the officer that the accused had been drinking and he attempted to take a sample of his breath. Ultimately he was arrested and charged with impaired driving and driving over the legal limit.
At the trial, David Anber challenged the evidence on the basis that the officer had not performed certain mandatory steps in the arrest promptly enough and that the officer had failed to assist the Spanish speaking accused person to properly understand his rights to speak to a lawyer.
Although the trial judge felt that the arguments concerning the timimg of steps performed by the officer was problematic, he would not have thrown out the evidence on those mistakes alone. However once considering the fact that Diego L. had not spoken with a lawyer and that it appeared that those rights were never explained to him in a meaningful way, he threw out the breathalyzer evidence.
The Judge also accepted Mr. Anber’s argument that the impaired driving evidence was too weak to result in a conviction.
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