Keeping Up Is Hard to Do:
A Trial Judge’s Reading Blog


R. v. Devos, 2024 MBCA 23, October 18, 2023, at paragraphs 47 to 49 and 52:  

In convicting the accused, the trial judge relied on indicia of poor judgment by the accused including that he (i) deliberately violated the term of his graduated licence that he not drive with any alcohol in his system; (ii) chose to drive while his passenger was not wearing a seatbelt; (iii) chose to spin his truck in the dark on a frozen, rutted field; and (iv) the fact that he rolled his vehicle suggested poor driving judgment. 

The accused submits that the decision to drink and drive, including while his passenger was not wearing a seatbelt, was one that the accused made when he was sober.  He argues that the cause of his poor judgment was just as likely to be associated with his age.

While poor judgment cannot be considered to be evidence in every case, the jurisprudence demonstrates that it may be a factor in the consideration of whether one’s ability to drive is impaired.  In Bush, the Ontario Court of Appeal commented that, “[s]light impairment to drive relates to a reduced ability in some measure to perform a complex motor function, whether impacting on perception or field of vision, . . . reaction or response time, judgment and regard for the rules of the road” (at para 47).

Based on the above, we are not convinced that the trial judge erred in considering the poor judgment exhibited by the accused as being indicative of impairment.