R. v. Vanstaceghem

36 C.C.C. (3d) 142



military policeman stopped vehicle driven by accused on Canadian Forces Base, high rate of speed, red light without a stop, inquiry of accused, responded in English, investigating officer only spoke English, odour of alcoholic beverage on breath, eyes bloodshot and glassy, opinion, demand in English, accused repliedin English that he didn't understand, officer gave him a bilingual breath demand card, accused appeared to read it, indicated he understood, informed of RTC in English, respondent advised in English that he understood, did not ask for a lawyer, breath tech spoke to accused for 10 minutes in English and about technical matters according to breath tech, accused said conversation short,samples 140 mg x2, respondent testified understood conversation slightly, worked in English and spoke English with co-workers, Appeal Court concluded a French Canadian who testified speaks French 100% better than speaks English

Another Issue


not at ease with English - special circumstances



officer's knowledge that the accused was French, certainly not at ease with the English language, did not understand breath demand, special circumstances ed required the officer to reasonably ascertain that constitutional rights were understood by him ... officer's belief about accused's ability to understand and made an informed choice to waive them not reasonable in the special circumstances of this case... regrettable disregard for the respondent's constitutional rights, tend to bring administration of justice into disrepute