STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE ON THE SUPREME COURT OF CANADA'S RULING IN THE CASE OF R. V. ST-ONGE LAMOUREUX AND R. V. DINELEY

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OTTAWA, November 2, 2012 – The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada made the following statement today in regards to today's Supreme Court of Canada's ruling in the case of R. v. St-Onge Lamoureux and R. v. Dineley:

"Our Government takes the issue of impaired driving very seriously. That is why we took action to toughen our laws and keep our communities safe.

In 2008, Parliament amended the Criminal Code to allow only scientifically valid defences to be used as evidence that a driver's Blood Alcohol Concentration was less than 80 at the time of driving even though they had blown over 80 at the time of testing. I am pleased that today's Supreme Court of Canada's ruling, in the case of R v. St-Onge Lamoureux and R. v. Dineley, has recognized the reliability of approved instruments and upheld in part the constitutionality of those important amendments.

Previously, testimony about an accused individual's drinking pattern prior to driving, combined with expert evidence, could be used to prove that if they consumed the amount they claimed, their blood alcohol content would have been below the legal limit. This defence was allowed even though there was no evidence that the approved instrument had malfunctioned. The sections of the Criminal Code found constitutional by the Supreme Court will protect Canadians by limiting this defence to only cases where there is also evidence of either equipment malfunction or operator error.

My departmental officials are currently reviewing the decision and we will work closely with our provincial and territorial partners to determine the most appropriate next steps. Every effort will continue to be made to put the necessary laws in place that protect all Canadians from the dangers of impaired driving."

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Ref.:

Julie Di Mambro
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Justice
613-992-4621

Media Relations
Department of Justice
613-957-4207