BenchPress--Vol 40-2.

Author:Mitchell, Teresa

Talking to Siri

The Nova Scotia Supreme Court has upheld a ruling by a provincial court judge about the definition of "using" a cellphone. Dr. Ajirogho Ikede is a medical officer in the Canadian Forces. A policeman observed him driving his car while holding his cellphone in his hand. He was charged under the Nova Scotia distracted driving law with using a cellphone while driving. Dr. Ikeda pled not guilty, explaining that he was asking Siri for directions on his cellphone using a voice-activated navigation system. He argued that he was not using his phone in the traditional sense of sending or receiving a phone call, sending or listening to a voice mail or communicating with anyone. He asked the phone for directions and then put it down and just listened. The Crown argued that use is use: applying the device for some purpose. The Court noted that there is no definition of "use" in the Motor Vehicle Act which is a bit unusual. Other provinces do offer a definition. Justice Campbell wrote: "Use" is not just "use". It rarely, if ever, is." He stated that "use does not encompass all interactions with hand-held devices that have cellular telephone functionality." He concluded that when a driver, without looking at the screen of the device, engages a voice-activated navigational system related directly to the safe operation of the vehicle, through a hand-held electronic communication device, he was not "using" a cellular telephone. Dr. Ikede was acquitted.

R v Ikede, 2015 NSSC 264 (CanLII)

Till Death Do Us Part?

A Supreme Court of British Columbia judge recently had to sift through the details of a relationship to determine the factors that would define a spouse. Penny Neufeld said that she had been in a marriage-like relationship with Norman Dafoe for eleven years. However, he did not...

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