Her Majesty the Queen v. Jamie Kenneth Taylor
(Alberta) (Criminal) (As of Right)
Constitutional law - Criminal law, Right to counsel (s. 10(b)), Search and seizure (s. 8).
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Charter of rights - Criminal law - Right to counsel – Search and seizure - Impaired driving causing bodily harm - Blood sample evidence - Whether respondent’s s. 10(b) Charter rights breached - Whether blood sample evidence should have been excluded pursuant to s. 24(2) of the Charter.
The respondent was convicted of three counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm. He was driving his pick-up truck with four passengers when the truck hit a fire hydrant and a lamppost, and then rolled several times before coming to a stop. Three of the passengers were seriously injured. The respondent was arrested at the scene of the accident, advised of his Charter rights, after which he stated he wanted to call his father and a lawyer whom he identified by name. He was later brought to the hospital where two blood samples were taken: one for hospital purposes and another pursuant to a demand made by police. The respondent was not afforded an opportunity to contact his lawyer before the samples were taken. At trial, the Crown did not attempt to introduce the “demand” blood samples, because it conceded there had been a Charter breach as a result of the respondent not being given an opportunity to contact his lawyer. However, the trial judge found no basis to set aside the warrant issued with respect to the other blood samples, and accordingly, they were admitted into evidence. The trial judge concluded that there was no reasonable opportunity at the time to give the respondent private access to a telephone to exercise his right to consult his lawyer. The central issue on appeal was whether the blood sample evidence should have been excluded because of a breach of the respondent’s Charter right to counsel. A majority of the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and acquitted the respondent. Slatter J.A., dissenting, would have dismissed the appeal.
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