Judge sinks Penticton man's attempt to avoid drunk driving conviction - InfoNews

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Judge sinks Penticton man's attempt to avoid drunk driving conviction

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December 09, 2016 - 8:00 PM

PENTICTON - A Penticton judge has ruled a 14 minute delay is not an unreasonalble length of time for breath samples to be taken during an impaired driving investigation.

In a decision handed down in Penticton court yesterday, Dec. 8, Judge Meg Shaw overturned James Stanley Thom's, 68, appeal on a charge of operating a motor vehicle while impaired.

In handing down her decision, Judge Shaw recounted the Dec. 30, 2015 incident in which Thom was stopped by police, who conducted an impaired driving investigation.

Two breath samples were taken at the scene, which indicated Thom was driving while legally impaired. He was taken to the RCMP detachment where he sought legal counsel, prior to being subjected to two more breathalyzer tests.

Thom wanted the charges against him dropped, citing an unreasonable length of time taken between his arrival in the observation room and his first breath sample being taken.

Judge Shaw outlined the timeline of events that took place following Thom’s arrest to the point he was released from custody, noting there was no requirement by police to detail every minute of Thom’s time while in police custody.

Most notable was a 14 minute period following Thom’s phone call for legal assistance and his first breathalyzer sample, which police evidence explained as time in which the technician explained the procedure to Thom.

Judge Shaw noted in order to justify an unreasonable length of time, the whole period of Thom’s custody must be examined.

She further noted Thom’s total time in custody was 49 minutes, calling it reasonably prompt and within the two hours permitted under the criminal code.

The judge overturned Thom’s appeal, finding him guilty of driving while impaired. He was sentenced to a one year driving prohibition and a $1,000 fine.


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