Mar 18, 2014

Summary of R. v. Doyle

R. v. Doyle, 2009 NSPC 71 (CanLII)
The accused drove her vehicle off the road for no apparent reason. When she climbed out of the car, a bystander assisted her to the shoulder and coaxed her to lie down. Paramedics applied a neck collar, placed her on a stretcher and put her in an ambulance. A police officer that arrived in the midst of this procedure formed the opinion that she had been drinking. He went inside the ambulance with her and made a demand for blood samples while still at the scene, with which she refused to comply. There was no evidence that the officer spoke to any medical personnel, either at the scene or at the hospital, about whether or how long the accused might be kept in their care.Accused found not guilty; the blood demand was not lawful as the evidence failed to show that it was impracticable, in all the circumstances, to obtain a breath sample within a reasonable time and, thus, the refusal did not constitute an offence. The officer had acted precipitously in not following the accused to the hospital, not ascertaining her medical condition or inquiring how long she might be held for treatment and not allowing himself sufficient time even to make such an assessment. The court considered what would constitute a proper basis for the requirement that it be 'impracticable to obtain a breath sample' and discussed the significance and implications for police and medical practice.