2 drunk driving cases thrown out in Yellowknife
Judges said officers trampled drivers’ constitutional rights
In recent weeks, two judges have thrown out impaired driving cases in Yellowknife because the arresting officers trampled on the drivers' constitutional rights.
Both judges said it appears the police officers weren't even aware of those rights.
One case involved a man who was charged after a police officer noticed him fishtail on a slippery road as he left a Yellowknife convenience store.
The other began when police received a tip about a minor accident.
In both cases, the arresting officers detained the drivers without telling them why, and then started questioning them before advising them of their right to remain silent and call a lawyer.
There were other breaches as well, which were serious enough that both judges would not allow the prosecutors to use breathalyzer results which showed both drivers were intoxicated.
In the case of the fishtailing driver, Judge Bernadette Schmaltz said the number of mistakes made by the arresting officer, "may be seen as a pattern of conduct ...where the authorities are seen to have little regard for a person's rights and freedoms under the Charter."
In a written judgment released two weeks ago on the accident case, Justice Louise Charbonneau said the reputation of the justice system suffers when the police show an ignorance of their obligations under the law.