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Drunk driving charges dropped

Man let off after Crown couldn't prove he was behind the wheel

By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express

An Oshawa man was acquitted of drunk driving charges after the judge ruled the prosecutor didn’t prove beyond reasonable doubt he was behind the wheel of a one-vehicle crash.

At approximately 3 a.m. on Dec. 1, 2013, a white Toyota hit two hydro poles on Ritson Road near Eulalie Drive. An ambulance that was passing at the time called for a second ambulance, which took the man to Lakeridge Health.

At the hospital, the man’s blood was taken for testing by hospital staff, which found he was in excess of 80mg of alcohol in 100mL of blood, making him legally intoxicated and unfit to drive.

While the judge in the case, Justice David Stone, said it was proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was legally intoxicated, it was not proven that he was in fact behind the wheel of the Toyota.

One Crown witness in the case, Const. Gordon of Durham police, was the only one to positively identify the accused in court. However, according to court documents, he was sent to Lakeridge shortly before 4:30 a.m. to follow up on the accident that occurred earlier in the evening, but did not have a name, only the information that a male had been in an accident and was now in the trauma unit.

The defendant’s medical records stated he had been in an “MVC” – which the judge noted likely meant motor vehicle collision – but that was deemed inadmissible at it was hearsay, as it was told to the hospital.

“Accurately determining and recording the origin of (the defendant’s) injuries was important to hospital staff, but was not a business process of the hospital as such, and was not even proven to be an admission of (the defendant), who may well have been unconscious,” reads the judge’s report following the defendant’s acquittal.

The judge also noted that the paramedics on site were unable to positively identify the defendant in the case as “they were totally engaged in cutting the unconscious driver out of his driver’s seatbelt, stabilizing him on a backboard and getting him out of the passenger window of the car with the help of a tow truck, its driver and other first responders.”