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Tom Rees | Criminal Defence Lawyer Winnipeg

Saskatchewan Woman Convicted of Refusing to Provide Breath Sample


A Saskatchewan Court convicted a woman of refusing to provide a breath sample, deciding that she refused on purpose and not as a result of an chest injury.

The police arrived at the scene and found a vehicle that had collided with a median. The police officers spoke with the woman who had been driving and demanded that she participate with and ASD (Approved Screening Device) at the roadside.

The police argued that she refused to provide a sample by failing to blow into the machine for long enough and failing seal her lips around the mouthpiece properly. The woman’s defense lawyer argued that she attempted to do as directed, but was injured from the car accident and suffering from anxiety at the time.

[32]   The evidence establishes that the ASD was in working order.  The accused was given clear instructions and numerous opportunities to provide a suitable sample. In addition to not blowing long or hard enough the accused threw her head back and, on  more than one occasion,  failed to seal her lips around the mouthpiece.  I am satisfied  that the Crown has established the mens rea of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Court looked at whether the woman’s injuries and anxiety condition met the threshold for a reasonable excuse for failing to provide the breath sample. The woman’s defense lawyer provided medical information that the woman’s rib was injured, but the Judge did not ultimately find it to be enough:

[37]   Even if I accept the accused’s testimony regarding the rib injury, that still leaves the question whether the rib injury made it extremely difficult for the accused to provide a breath sample.  In that regard, I did not find the accused to be a credible witness.  I found her reasons for not feeling the rib pain, first adrenaline, then anxiety, the product of creative afterthought. Her testimony that she “winced in pain” yet, at the same time, failed to register that the pain was connected to  her ability to blow into the ASD is inconsistent and quite frankly, unbelievable.

The Court found that the breath sample demand was lawful, that the woman intentionally failed to provide the sample, and that she did not have a reasonable excuse, so the woman was convicted of refusing to provide a breath sample.



*Note: the information on this page is not legal advice

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