Withdrawal of charges of drunk driving 6 years later
Six years after being accused of driving while impaired and, after a victory in the supreme Court of Canada (SCC), Justine Awashish sees his criminal record be settled once and for all. The Director of criminal and penal prosecutions (DPCP) has filed a nolle prosequi or a stay of proceedings.
The decision was made Thursday morning at the Palais de justice de Roberval. A representative of the DPCP is addressed to the judge Pierre Simard, of the Court of Quebec, to inform him of the decision.
“This means that the judicial procedures are completed for Ms. Awashish. The Crown has announced a stay of proceedings in the case. As it has proceeded by a nolle prosequi, she did not have to give reasons for its decision. It is part of the discretionary power of the Crown to put an end to the proceedings, ” said Jean-Marc Fradette, during an interview with The Daily.
Justine Awashish was arrested on August 31, 2012 while drunk behind the wheel. His lawyer at the time, I Denis Otis, Roberval, qc, had asked the DPCP to provide certain information in connection with the memory of the device of detection of alcohol (ADA).
Following the refusal of the Crown to provide the information, the judge Micheline Paradis had forced the DPCP to provide its information. But the DPCP was sent to the Quebec superior Court to quash the decision and had won the case.
The defense went to the Court of appeal of Québec and the judges have reversed the decision of the superior Court, and forced the Crown to do research. The dossier was then sent to the supreme Court of Canada where can I Fradette argued the case in support of Me Otis.
Last October 26, the judges of the supreme Court of Canada has upheld the decision of the judge of Paradise that the DPCP was to provide the information, but had added that it was for the accused to prove the existence of such information, and demonstrate their usefulness.
It remained to determine whether the record should or should not continue.
I Fradette believes that the judicial time and the fact that the accused has had to live with this case for many years, have led the Crown to take the decision to withdraw the legal proceedings.
“We would have been able to go to trial, but it would have taken months, if not years, before the set. It is also possible that the materials and evidence no longer exist, and the Crown would not have been able to present it to the court. From there, it is necessary to consider whether it was appropriate to continue the procedures, ” says Me Fradette.
The cause of Justine Awashish has been considered as a cause in Canada, because it was in a way to represent thousands of similar cases.
Since the decision of the supreme Court, specifying that it is for the accused to demonstrate that the information on the memory of the ADA exists and that it is useful, the noose has continued to tighten towards the drivers fault.
Since 18 December, the canadian government has added more against those who would take the wheel while intoxicated.
It authorizes the police to demand a breath sample without having reason to believe that the driver was impaired, increases the fines significantly and allows citizens who pleaded guilty to benefit from a device éthylométrique (ignition interlock device) at the time of sentencing.