The Supreme Court of Canada, recently decided a case involving the legal issue of Care or Control. Prior to this decision, there was no cleardecisive answer to what exactly was required for one to be found guilty of Care or Control. A lot of questions have been answered by this well reasoned thorough decision.
Donald Boudreault v. Her Majesty the Queen
Criminal law – Offences – Elements of offence – Impaired driving and driving over “80” – Proof of intent to drive – Defences – Whether Court of Appeal erred in identifying elements of offence of having care or control of motor vehicle for purposes of s. 253(1)(a) and (b) of Criminal Code – Whether Court of Appeal erred in not considering “alternate plan” defence in relation to lack of intent to drive – Whether Court of Appeal erred in law in rejecting “alternate plan” as defence to charge of care and control of motor vehicle – Whether Court of Appeal erred in holding that risk that respondent might start driving motor vehicle is question of law.
After drinking a large quantity of alcohol, the appellant decided not to drive his automobile but to call a “designated driver” service. He decided to wait for them in his vehicle, sitting in the driver’s seat with the motor running, and then fell asleep. He was in this state when arrested by the police. Having rebutted the presumption provided for in s. 258(1)(a) of the Criminal Code, the appellant was acquitted of the offences provided for in s. 253(1)(a) and (b). The judge held that the Crown had failed to prove the actus reus, as there was no risk of the appellant driving the vehicle. The Court of Appeal allowed the Crown’s appeal and found the appellant guilty on both counts. Citing Sergerie v. R., 2005 QCCA 1227, it explained that intent to drive is not an essential element of the offences.