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Judge dismisses impaired driving charge in P.E.I. due to charter breach

Justice
Justice
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

A judge dismissed an impaired driving charge after determining a P.E.I. woman’s Charter of Rights and Freedom were breached.

Chief Provincial Court Judge Nancy Orr ruled the RCMP did not have the resources available to properly inform Chelsey Dawn Lefort, 30, of her rights.

Lefort was arrested on October at approximately the same time as another individual who was not connected to her or to her arrest. 

However, police only had one vehicle available, so both Lefort and the man were put into the same police cruiser.

Brendan Hubley
Brendan Hubley

Defence lawyer Brendan Hubley told The Guardian following the judge’s dismissal of the impaired driving charge that his client, Lefort, was in the front seat while a highly intoxicated man was in the back seat.

“This guy is acting out as it were,’’ said Hubley.

“So, you can’t say that she was informed of her rights in that environment. It would be oppressive.’’

Hubley added the police officer was even telling the man to stop talking so he could read Lefort her rights.

“That’s not the environment that you should be explaining important rights,’’ he said.

Lefort and the intoxicated man were both taken to the RCMP detachment in Montague. 

They were placed in a room together, where the man continued to talk and interrupt. He even told Lefort that he knew her and saw her on Facebook, making the situation even more oppressive or Lefort, argued Hubley.

“You’ve got to abide by the charter,’’ he said.

“This is the whole argument. Police have an obligation both implementational and informational – and the informational part here is sadly missed.’’

Under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, people detained or arrested have the right to know the reasons for the detention or arrest right away. The police must explain the reasons in clear and simple language.

This information helps people detained or arrested know how serious the situation is. They can then make an informed decision about their other rights.

“The charter is the charter,’’ said Hubley.

“It’s a golden thread through all of the matters.’’

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