Don McMorris pleads guilty to drunk-driving charge, has licence suspended
Sask. MLA was pulled over and charged with drinking and driving on Aug. 5
Saskatchewan's former deputy premier had a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit and was seen weaving across the road on the day he was charged with drinking-and-driving offences, Regina provincial court has heard.
Don McMorris pleaded guilty to having a blood-alcohol level over .08 and was fined $1,820 on the charge on his first court appearance on the matter Wednesday morning. He's also had his licence suspended for a year.
The Saskatchewan Party member of the legislative assembly was arrested and charged on Aug. 5.
- Sask. deputy premier Don McMorris resigns from cabinet after impaired driving charge
- Don McMorris behind wheel of government vehicle at time of impaired driving charge
McMorris, who was behind the wheel of a government vehicle at the time of the arrest, previously told reporters he was returning home from the Fort Qu'Appelle region when he was pulled over in a construction zone.
Court heard more details on Wednesday.
According to the Crown prosecutor, two people spotted a vehicle weaving across the road around 11:30 a.m. The incident was recorded on GoPro video.
The vehicle almost rear-ended another at a Tim Hortons in the east end of Regina.
McMorris got out of the vehicle. When his breath was tested, the blood-alcohol results were .200 and .210 — 2½ times the legal limit of .08 per cent.
McMorris later told police he had been drinking with a friend the night before after watching a Roughriders football game.
He said that when he woke up the next day, he thought he was OK to drive.
Judge Barbara Tomkins said the fact he was pleading guilty at an early stage and his remorse were factors in his favour.
She noted, however, that his blood-alcohol levels were very high. She said she wondered how much alcohol would cause readings that high the morning after.
After McMorris pleaded guilty to the .08 charge, the Crown stayed a companion charge of impaired driving.
The day after he was charged, McMorris resigned from cabinet, vacating his roles as minister responsible for the provincial insurer SGI, Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority, Crown Investments, Public Service Commission and the Lean Initiative. McMorris is still the MLA for Indian Head-Milestone, where he was first elected in 1999.
Following court Wednesday, McMorris said he will continue to undertake counselling.
"I'm extremely embarrassed and ashamed of my actions on that day," McMorris told reporters on the courthouse steps. "There are no excuses."
After McMorris stepped down, Premier Brad Wall said he was disappointed with McMorris's actions, adding that drinking and driving ruins lives and is completely unacceptable.