One of our drinking and driving cases was stayed in September for 2016, when the police were caught discussing their evidence during the trial.

During criminal trials the judge usually prohibits witnesses from discussing their evidence. This is done to protect against one witness tainting another witness’ evidence.

In our case, the police were found to have discussed their evidence during the trial. One officer denied that this happened during his testimony. Meanwhile the other officers confirmed that they had discussed their evidence. We filed an abuse of process motion. We argued that the integrity of the justice system was undermined by these police actions. The charges were stayed and all our client’s charges were dismissed.

Abuse of Process Doctrine in Canada

 A stay of proceedings for an abuse of process will only be warranted in the clearest of cases.  Two types of state conduct may warrant a stay.  The first is conduct that compromises the fairness of an accused’s trial (the “main” category).  The second is conduct that does not threaten trial fairness but risks undermining the integrity of the judicial process (the “residual” category).

The test for determining whether a stay of proceedings is warranted is the same for both categories and consists of three requirements:  (1) there must be prejudice to the accused’s right to a fair trial or to the integrity of the justice system that will be manifested, perpetuated or aggravated through the conduct of the trial, or by its outcome, (2) there must be no alternative remedy capable of redressing the prejudice, and (3) where there is still uncertainty over whether a stay is warranted after steps 1 and 2, the court must balance the interests in favour of granting a stay against the interest that society has in having a final decision on the merits.

Ottawa Criminal Lawyer

Charged with impaired driving in Ontario? Contact Ottawa criminal lawyer Brett McGarry to discuss the best defence for your case.