Former MADD Canada chapter president sentenced to jail time for drunk driving

Nancy MacPhee
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David Griffin walks into the Prince County Court House Thursday morning with his lawyer David Hammond prior to entering a guilty plea on an impaired driving charge. The former Summerside Police Services deputy chief was sentenced to five days behind bars.


A former Summerside Police Services deputy chief and local MADD chapter president was sentenced in Summerside provincial court Thursday to five days in jail after pleading guilty to driving drunk. 

David Griffin, a 39-year veteran of the Summerside force before his retirement in 2011, was caught drunk behind the wheel on June 5.

At the time, he was president of the East Prince chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

He immediately resigned from the post.

When asked by Judge Jeff Lantz what his plea was on the charge, Griffin, who stood at the defence table alongside his lawyer David Hammond, replied, in a low voice, “I plead guilty, your honour.”

Those words would be the only ones that Griffin would speak during his court appearance.

The court heard that Summerside police, acting on a citizen’s complaint, stopped Griffin at 2:13 p.m. on June 5.

Exhibiting signs of impairment, he was chartered and cautioned and given the breath demand.

Griffin provided two breath samples, both 200 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood, more than double the legal limit of 80 mg per 100 ml of blood.

He was released at the time.

Griffin’s lawyer, David Hammond, said that his client, who first joined the force in 1972, had “a distinguished career” with the Summerside force, moving up the ranks to detective sergeant in 1978 and promoted to deputy chief in 1995, a position he held until his retirement in 2011.

“He was a highly trained and talented and dedicated police officer,” said Hammond, adding that when he was a Crown attorney he often “had Sgt. Griffin at my right side on many occasion” in court.

The defence attorney said the last 13 years of Griffin’s career “were very difficult,” with a “David and Goliath struggle” with the City of Summerside.

Hammond was referring to Griffin suing the city for malicious prosecution in connection with sexual-harassment charges dating back to the late 1990s, which were eventually dismissed.

“It was a taxing fight,” said Hammond. “It took a mental, physical and financial burden on the family. That in part, in a large part, led to his fall.”

It was during that time, said Griffin’s lawyer, his client’s alcohol problem began, ultimately resulting in the charge before the court.

Since his arrest, Hammond said Griffin has taken steps towards sobriety, voluntarily enrolling in a program that he began the day of his arrest and completed on Aug. 3.

“He has suffered greatly as a result of this recent brush with the law,” said the lawyer. “He has embarrassed himself and, to some extent, his family.

“He is deeply remorseful. He asked me to apologize to the community at large and his volunteer community that he took great pride in being involved in.”

In addition to his five-day jail sentence, Griffin must pay a $1,300 fine, $390 victim surcharge and is prohibited from driving for 12 months.


Organizations: MADD Canada, Summerside Police Services, Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Geographic location: Summerside, East Prince

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Recent comments

    September 03, 2015 - 20:51

    Sorry Joe. I forgot about the regular excuses like I have a drinking problem, I have a drug problem, I had a bad childhood, I don't like punishment. I am not excusing him but feel that the punishment was strong compared to what others have been sentenced for far worse situations. I just find it a tad offensive that you feel he should receive extra punishment for protecting the community for over thirty years.

  • Joe Doe
    September 03, 2015 - 19:18

    There are just no more heroes left in the world.

  • Caringgal
    September 03, 2015 - 17:39

    I feel this man was set up by someone seeking revenge.Drinking and driving is wrong,but the 5 days and large fine is too much,compared to what others get.

  • david
    September 03, 2015 - 15:59

    Good to see this sentence a longer one would have been better because this man spent many years ina position of authority and upholding the law now which he broke. Active and former police officers should be held to a higher standard for sure and this guy should have gotten at 30 days and 5 year license suspension because he knew the laws better then the average person. Not to mention being president of MADD he should have had higher level of concern about what his own actions would do to hurt that organization.

  • Ask David Hammond
    September 03, 2015 - 15:56

    Was their a back room deal made here? And do we know all the details of the arrest ?????. Maybe Mr Griffin may have gotten more if he would have plead not guilty. So enough whining about him getting to much time. Karma refers to action driven by intention (cetanā) which leads to future consequences. So please spare me the bleeding hearts.

  • Puffhead promoted yet?
    September 03, 2015 - 14:37

    Unfortunate situation. Mistakes happen, you take your lumps and move on. Anyone reading this that hasn't made a mistake must also walk on water and have a halo over their head.

  • Dug
    September 03, 2015 - 13:41

    Wow ! five whole days that will teach him, is he doing it outright or weekends ?

    September 03, 2015 - 13:39

    The five days in jail is completely unwarranted. We have people here that have been charged 3 or 4 times and do not get that. The fine is more then others as is the surcharge. I think this is pay back for making the gang look bad.

    • Regular Joe
      Regular Joe
      September 03, 2015 - 16:17

      @ UNWARRANTED cry me a river . Would you still think this if they had hit some one and crippled or worse killed them . They knew better and they have no valid excuses period . Seeing as they were in law enforcement and the president of a MADD chapter , the fines should have been tripled and time tripled at a minimum . They if anyone deserves what they got and more .

  • Blame Game
    September 03, 2015 - 11:20

    What the City of Summerside may or may not have done to you is irrelevant. They did not put the keys into your ignition. Summerside is known for eating their own to benefit those few. Look at the Waterfront. Michael Jackson. Route 2. City Hall may be crooked but YOU were driving the vehicle. New Mayor now, same old boy rules.

  • J
    September 03, 2015 - 10:58

    Such a shining example of Island Police Forces and MADD.

  • Nnncy
    September 03, 2015 - 10:42

    5 days! Are you serious! That is a joke!

    • don
      September 03, 2015 - 13:44

      this is unreal 1st time and he gets $1,300 fine etc hell i have seen repeat drunks on getting a $100.00 fine and 2 days in jail. this is sick i hope the judge some time gets nailed for drunk driving but the law also protects there own. and dave is no longer one of there own.