Christie Culotta v. Her Majesty the Queen

(Ontario) (Criminal) (As of Right)


Canadian charter (Criminal) - Criminal law, Right to counsel (s. 10(b)) - Charter - Criminal law - Right to counsel - Exclusion of evidence pursuant to s. 24(2) - Whether appellant’s right to counsel was breached - Whether the hospital blood analysis records should be excluded.


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The appellant was convicted of two counts of operation of a vessel causing bodily harm while having a blood alcohol content that exceeded 80 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood, after the boat she was operating on Lake Muskoka collided head on with a rocky island. The four passengers were injured, two of them seriously. The appellant appealed her conviction, arguing among other things that the hospital records derived from her blood samples should have been excluded from the evidence. A majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. Pardu J.A., dissenting, would have allowed the appeal, quashed the convictions, and remitted the matter for trial. In her view, “[t]he affront to human dignity embodied in a police officer’s ‘co-opting a lab technician’ into taking blood samples for police purposes when the technician was taking blood samples to carry out a physician’s orders is so serious that… the hospital records of the analysis of the appellant’s blood should be excluded, despite the absence of a direct causal connection between the multiple breaches of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the creation of hospital records containing the blood analysis.”