A judge who actually wants proof of impairment

Pot-smoking driver in Saskatoon deemed not impaired

A woman who admitted to using marijuana before getting into her car has been acquitted of impaired driving, with the Saskatoon judge saying he was not convinced her ability to operate a vehicle was affected. [...]

In his decision, the judge said he was left with several unanswered questions, including:

  1. What signs of impairment would one expect to see in someone who has been using marijuana?
  2. How long after using marijuana would you expect to see these signs and how long would they last?
  3. Can the results of drug evaluation tests taken over 1½ hours after the time of driving be reliably related back to the time the woman was stopped?
  4. Was the woman’s performance in some of the tests an indication of poor balance or poor co-ordination?

On the other hand, the judge found there was plenty of evidence to suggest the woman was not impaired, noting:

  1. The officer did not observe any problems with her driving as she came to the check stop, when she was directed into the check stop or when she was directed to drive out of the line of cars to a nearby parking lot.
  2. She had no problems understanding the officer or answering his questions and did not slur her speech.
  3. She was able to provide him with her licence without any problems and had no difficulty following the officer’s instructions or getting out of her vehicle.
  4. When he asked her to take her hand off her vehicle and step away from it, she did so without problem. She did not have to hold on to anyone or anything for balance and after he handcuffed her, she had no problems walking to his police car and getting into the back seat.
  5. She was polite and co-operative with the officer.

What a unique concept. Don’t convict someone for being impaired unless there’s actually some evidence that they were… impaired.

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