(Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Crown appeals Yukon man’s acquittal on drunk driving, drug charges

The Crown is appealing a territorial court judge’s decision to acquit a man on drunk driving and drug possession charges.

Crown lawyers argue the trial judge erred by ruling certain portions of evidence inadmissible on the basis that it violated the man’s Charter rights.

Curtis Rowat was arrested and charged Jan. 27, 2017, with two counts of impaired driving and one count of possession of a controlled substance following an early-morning traffic stop.

Judge Richard Schneider acquitted Rowat on May 16 following a two-day trial, in part because portions of the Crown’s evidence were deemed inadmissible on the grounds that the officer who stopped, and subsequently arrested, Rowat did not have proper grounds to stop him in the first place, therefore violating Rowat’s Charter rights.

According to Schneider’s ruling on the admissibility of the evidence, Rowat was pulled over by an RCMP officer who testified she believed his vehicle was one she had spotted speeding a few kilometres earlier but lost sight of.

In her evidence the officer gave no description of Rowat’s vehicle or any details about how it resembled the one she had earlier observed to be speeding, the judge said.

At the time she came upon him, Rowat’s vehicle was not breaking any traffic laws.

“While it cannot be clearly found that the officer was operating in bad faith, the stop was not made with objectively reasonable grounds,” Schneider wrote.

“Ultimately, the impact upon the accused, while not egregious, was not trivial. There is a societal interest in keeping the streets safe and investigating Motor Vehicles Act breaches but these investigations must be for rational and clearly articulated purposes. Here, the officer’s stated purpose and subsequent stopping of Mr. Rowat did not comport with the requirement that it be objectively reasonable. The appropriate remedy is the exclusion of the evidence flowing from the arbitrary stop.”

In a notice of appeal filed to the Yukon Supreme Court May 29, the Crown claims that Schneider erred in his decision on three grounds: by finding the traffic stop that lead to Rowat’s arrest was done without proper grounds and therefore violated his right to not be “arbitrarily detained or imprisoned” under Section 9 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; by allowing Rowat to advance his allegation of a Charter breach related to the traffic stop without giving notice to the Crown or allowing the Crown to recall as a witness the officer involved; and by excluding cocaine and breath test evidence on the basis that Rowat’s Charter rights had been violated.

The Crown is requesting for the acquittal to be overturned and a new trial ordered.

The matter is set to appear in court June 26.

With files from Ashley Joannou

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

Drunk DrivingYukon courts

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

During our recent conversation, John Nicholson showed me snapshots of his time working on the Yukon riverboats 70 years ago. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: Yukon man relives the riverboat days after seven decades

John Nicholson took summer work on Yukon steamers in the 1950s

A city map shows the property at 107 Range Road. The zoning is now in place for developers to proceed with plans for a Dairy Queen drive-thru. If plans proceed on schedule the new restaurant is anticipated to open in October. (Cyrstal Schick/Yukon News)
October opening eyed for Dairy Queen

Will depend on everything going according to plan

NDP candidate Annie Blake, left, and Liberal incumbent Pauline Frost. (Submitted photos)
Official recount confirms tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin riding

Both candidates Pauline Frost and Annie Blake are still standing with 78 votes each

Artist’s rendering of a Dairy Queen drive-thru. At its April 13 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved a zoning change to allow a drive-thru at 107 Range Road. Developers sought the change to build a Dairy Queen there. (Submitted)
Drive-thru approved by Whitehorse city council at 107 Range Road

Rezoning could pave the way for a Dairy Queen

xx
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for April 14, 2021.… Continue reading

Joel Krahn/joelkran.com Hikers traverse the Chilkoot Trail in September 2015. Alaska side.
The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer

The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer Parks… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at city council matters for the week of April 12

École Whitehorse Elementary Grade 7 students Yumi Traynor and Oscar Wolosewich participated in the Civix Student Vote in Whitehorse on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Yukon Student Vote chooses Yukon Party government; NDP take popular vote

The initiative is organized by national non-profit CIVIX

Yvonne Clarke is the newly elected Yukon Party MLA for Porter Creek Centre. (Submitted/Yukon Party)
Yvonne Clarke elected as first Filipina MLA in the Yukon Legislative Assembly

Clarke beat incumbent Liberal Paolo Gallina in Porter Creek Centre

Emily Tredger at NDP election night headquarters after winning the Whitehorse Centre riding. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Emily Tredger takes Whitehorse Centre for NDP

MLA-elect ready to get to work in new role

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Two new cases of COVID-19 variant identified in territory

“If variants were to get out of control in the Yukon, the impact could be serious.”

lwtters
Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

Most Read