Victoria Lawyer Michael Mulligan, on CFAX 1070, discussing the federal government approval of the Drager Drug Test 5000 for roadside drug screening.
Recent amendments to the Criminal Code, that come into force in December, will permit police officers to make alcohol screening demands without any grounds to suspect a driver has been drinking. In addition, where police officers have reasonable grounds to suspect someone has drugs in their body, they will be permitted to demand a saliva sample for the purpose of drug screening.
The first machine that has been approved by the federal government for roadside drug screening is the Drager Drug Test 5000.
Drager has posted a video on YouTube that provides an overview of how the Drager Drug Test 5000 works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3tnMnsvQHA
Several are apparent from a review of the video which suggests the device may not be practical for roadside operation.
In order to obtain a sufficient amount of saliva for analysis, a police officer would need to swab around a suspect’s mouth for between one and four minutes while ensuring that the suspect doesn’t suck or chew on the collection device.
Once a sufficient amount of saliva is collected in a plastic collection tube, the device would then require approximately 15 minutes to perform an analysis.
The device will not operate correctly unless kept within 10 degrees of level and, according to the written description of the device, needs to be between 5 and 40 degrees Celsius during operation.
In addition to the discussions surrounding the drug testing device, two recent British Columbia Court of Appeal decisions were discussed.
In Barter v. British Columbia (Adult Forensic Psychiatric Services), the court dismissed an appeal from a decision by the British Columbia Review Board to deny an absolute discharge to a man who was found not criminally responsible for a murder he committed in August of 2010. The process for monitoring someone who is found to be not criminally responsible as a result of a mental disorder is discussed, along with the test to be applied where there is an appeal of a decision to the Court of Appeal.
Another decision of the Court of Appeal, R. v. Oler, is also discussed. This case involved a man who was acquitted at trial of an offence relating to taking his 15-year-old daughter to the United States to be married in a polygamist ceremony. The trial judge found him not guilty as there wasn’t evidence that the father did anything to remove his daughter, while he was in Canada. The trial judge relied on a general provision of the Criminal Code that requires an offence to occur in Canada. The Court of Appeal found that this general provision didn’t apply because there was a “real and substantial link” to Canada and ordered a new trial.
Listen to the show here.