Acquittal of cross-border beer shopper still stands
N.B. Court of Appeal won't hear province's appeal, Supreme Court may be next
New Brunswick's cross-border beer bust case could be headed for the Supreme Court of Canada.
The New Brunswick Court of Appeal has ruled it will not hear the province's appeal of the acquittal of Gerard Comeau of Tracadie.
- Border booze case goes before New Brunswick Court of Appeal
- New Brunswick judge throws out cross-border booze limits
Comeau was charged with exceeding the limit on beer and liquor that can be brought into New Brunswick from another province when he imported 14 cases of beer and three bottles of liquor from Quebec.
But the provincial court judge in the case acquitted Comeau, ruling the restrictions were unconstitutional.
Section 121 of the 1867 Constitution says products from any province "shall ... be admitted free into each of the other provinces."
Lawyers for the attorney general's office argued the judge made legal mistakes in his interpretation of that section by ignoring other Supreme Court of Canada rulings that interpreted it differently.
The appeal court's decision to not hear the case, by Justice Margaret Larlee, did not give any reasons.
Comeau's defence was funded by the Canadian Constitution Foundation, a private libertarian group that wants interprovincial trade barriers eliminated.
The foundation has said its goal is to force the case to the Supreme Court for a precedent-setting ruling.
Other provinces have been watching the Comeau case for its possible impact on their own liquor import regulations.