R. v. Orbanski (C.); R. v. Elias (D.J.), (2005) 335 N.R. 342 (SCC)

JudgeMcLachlin, C.J.C., Major, Bastarache, Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Fish, Abella and Charron, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateJune 16, 2005
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(2005), 335 N.R. 342 (SCC);2005 SCC 37;[2005] CarswellMan 190;132 CRR (2d) 117;195 Man R (2d) 161;[2005] SCJ No 37 (QL);[2005] 2 SCR 3;AZ-50318595;[2005] ACS no 37;335 NR 342;196 CCC (3d) 481;351 WAC 161;19 MVR (5th) 23;EYB 2005-91678;JE 2005-1172;253 DLR (4th) 385;65 WCB (2d) 615;29 CR (6th) 205;[2005] 9 WWR 203

R. v. Orbanski (C.); R. v. Elias (D.J.) (2005), 335 N.R. 342 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

[La version française vient à la suite de la version anglaise]

....................

Temp. Cite: [2005] N.R. TBEd. JN.017

Christopher Orbanski (appellant) v. Her Majesty The Queen (respondent) and Attorney General of Canada, Attorney General of Ontario, Attorney General of British Columbia, Attorney General for Saskatchewan, Attorney General of Alberta and Criminal Lawyers' Association (Ontario) (intervenors)

Her Majesty The Queen (appellant) v. David Jeff Elias (respondent) and Attorney General of Canada, Attorney General of Ontario, Attorney General of Quebec, Attorney General of British Columbia, Attorney General for Saskatchewan, Attorney General of Alberta and Criminal Lawyers' Association (Ontario) (intervenors)

(29793; 29920; 2005 SCC 37; 2005 CSC 37)

Indexed As: R. v. Orbanski (C.); R. v. Elias (D.J.)

Supreme Court of Canada

McLachlin, C.J.C., Major, Bastarache, Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Fish, Abella and Charron, JJ.

June 16, 2005.

Summary:

The general stop power provided under s. 76.1(1) of the Manitoba Highway Traffic Act, as it read in August and December of 1998, did not expressly authorize police officers to (1) ask stopped drivers whether they had been drinking and (2) administer roadside sobriety tests. Also, there was no obligation on stopped drivers to comply with such requests. This raised the issue of whether those police measures, which were taken in this case without first complying with the right to counsel informational re­quirements under s. 10(b) of the Charter, were "saved" under s. 1. The accused Or­banski and El­ias, arrested in two separate incidents, were charged with impaired driv­ing and driving "over 80". Both were asked whether they had been drinking. Both an­swered volun­tarily. Orbanski voluntarily agreed to sub­mit to a roadside sobriety test.

The Manitoba Provincial Court excluded the roadside sobriety test results and the consequent breathalyzer readings under s. 24 of the Charter and acquitted Orbanski. The Crown appealed to the Manitoba Court of Appeal under s. 830 of the Criminal Code.

The Manitoba Court of Appeal, in a deci­sion reported 173 Man.R.(2d) 132; 293 W.A.C. 132, allowed the appeal and ordered a new trial. Requesting a sobriety test did not constitute a reasonable limit "prescribed by law" under s. 1 of the Char­ter without a corresponding obligation to comply. Admis­sion into evidence of the roadside sobriety tests results and the breathalyzer readings would not bring the administration of justice into disrepute. Orbanski appealed.

As for Elias, he was acquitted at trial. The Crown appealed.

The Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench, in a decision reported 164 Man.R.(2d) 249, allowed the appeal and ordered a new trial. Elias appealed.

The Manitoba Court of Appeal, Kroft, J.A., concurring in the result, in a decision report­ed 177 Man.R.(2d) 13; 304 W.A.C. 13, dismissed the appeal. Asking questions about past alcohol consumption violated Elias' right to counsel under s. 10(b) of the Charter and was not saved under s. 1. However, the court admitted the results of an approved screening device test and a consequent breathalyzer test as not bringing the adminis­tration of justice into disrepute. The Crown appealed on whether the infrin­gement of s. 10(b) was saved by s. 1.

The Supreme Court of Canada, LeBel and Fish, JJ. dissenting on the Orbanski appeal, dismissed the Orbanski appeal. The Court allowed the Crown's appeal in Elias. The court ruled that asking questions about past alcohol consumption and administering a roadside sobriety test violated s. 10(b) but were limits prescribed by law which were reasonable and demonstrably justified under s. 1.

Editor's Note: Section 76.1 of the Highway Traffic Act (Man.) was amended in 2004 to provide an express limit to the right to coun­sel with respect to, inter alia, the adm­inistra­tion of sobriety tests to a stopped driver and questions about a stopped driv­er's past drinking.

Civil Rights - Topic 4608

Right to counsel - General - Right to be advised of - [See Civil Rights - Topic 8348 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 4610

Right to counsel - General - Impaired driving (incl. demand for breath or blood sample) - [See Civil Rights - Topic 8348 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 8348

Canadian Charter of Rights and Free­doms - Application - Exceptions - Rea­sonable limits prescribed by law (Charter, s. 1) - The general stop power provided under s. 76.1(1) of the Manitoba High­way Traffic Act, as it read in August and December of 1998, did not expressly authorize police officers to (1) ask stopped drivers whether they had been drinking and (2) administer roadside sobriety tests - Also, there was no obliga­tion on stopped drivers to comply with such requests - This raised the issue of whether those police measures, which were taken in this case without first com­plying with the right to counsel informa­tional requirements under s. 10(b) of the Char­ter, were "saved" under s. 1 - The Supreme Court of Canada held that they were - The measures were "prescribed by law" where they fell within the scope of reasonable police authority conferred by necessary implication from the oper­ational require­ments of the combined applicable fed­eral and provincial statutes -­ They con­stituted a limitation which was justifi­able in a free and demo­cratic society given the import­ance of detecting and deterring drunk driving, the highly regulated nature of driving on public roads, the limits placed by the common law on the types of screen­ing that can be conducted at the road­side, and the limited use that can be made of the compelled evidence collected during the screening process - See para­graphs 1 to 62.

Civil Rights - Topic 8368

Canadian Charter of Rights and Free­doms - Denial of rights - Remedies - Exclusion of evidence - The Supreme Court of Can­ada, per LeBel and Fish, JJ., discussed the exclusion of evidence and s. 24(2) of the Charter - See paragraphs 85 to 99.

Civil Rights - Topic 8551

Canadian Charter of Rights and Free­doms - Interpretation - Particular words and phrases - Demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society - [See Civil Rights - Topic 8348 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 8554

Canadian Charter of Rights and Free­doms - Interpretation - Particular words and phrases - Prescribed by law - [See Civil Rights - Topic 8348 ].

Police - Topic 3105

Powers - Investigation - Impaired driving (incl. sobriety tests etc.) - [See Civil Rights - Topic 8348 ].

Police - Topic 3109

Powers - Investigation - Motor vehicles - [See Civil Rights - Topic 8348 ].

Cases Noticed:

R. v. Brydges, [1990] 1 S.C.R. 190; 103 N.R. 282; 104 A.R. 124, refd to. [paras. 6, 75].

R. v. Dedman, [1985] 2 S.C.R. 2; 60 N.R. 34; 11 O.A.C. 241, refd to. [para. 24].

R. v. Simmons, [1988] 2 S.C.R. 495; 89 N.R. 1; 30 O.A.C. 241, refd to. [para. 30].

Dehghani v. Minister of Employment and Immigration, [1993] 1 S.C.R. 1053; 150 N.R. 241, refd to. [para. 30].

R. v. Therens, [1985] 1 S.C.R. 613; 59 N.R. 122; 40 Sask.R. 122, consd. [para. 31].

R. v. Thomsen, [1988] 1 S.C.R. 640; 84 N.R. 347; 27 O.A.C. 85, consd. [paras. 31, 78].

R. v. Hufsky, [1988] 1 S.C.R. 621; 84 N.R. 365; 27 O.A.C. 103, refd to. [para. 31].

R. v. Ladouceur, [1990] 1 S.C.R. 1257; 108 N.R. 171; 40 O.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 31].

R. v. Saunders (1988), 27 O.A.C. 184; 41 C.C.C.(3d) 532 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 42].

R. v. Smith (J.M.) (1996), 88 O.A.C. 374; 105 C.C.C.(3d) 58 (C.A.), consd. [para. 42].

R. v. Hebert, [1990] 2 S.C.R. 151; 110 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 48].

R. v. Seo (1986), 13 O.A.C. 359; 25 C.C.C.(3d) 385 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 52].

R. v. Oakes, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 103; 65 N.R. 87; 14 O.A.C. 335, refd to. [para. 54].

Canadian Broadcasting Corp. v. Dagenais et al., [1994] 3 S.C.R. 835; 175 N.R. 1; 76 O.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 54].

R. v. Milne (R.S.) (1996), 90 O.A.C. 348; 107 C.C.C.(3d) 118 (C.A.), leave to appeal refused [1996] 3 S.C.R. xiii; 207 N.R. 78; 97 O.A.C. 159, refd to. [para. 58].

R. v. Coutts (D.) (1999), 121 O.A.C. 342; 45 O.R.(3d) 288 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 58].

R. v. Ellerman (B.H.), [2000] 6 W.W.R. 704; 255 A.R. 149; 220 W.A.C. 149 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 58].

R. v. Roy (1997), 117 C.C.C.(3d) 243 (Que. C.A.), refd to. [para. 58].

R. v. Bartle (K.), [1994] 3 S.C.R. 173; 172 N.R. 1; 74 O.A.C. 161, consd. [paras. 58, 73].

R. v. Waterfield, [1963] 3 All E.R. 659 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 81].

R. v. Charron (S.) (1990), 30 Q.A.C. 223; 57 C.C.C.(3d) 248 (C.A.), consd. [para. 82].

R. v. Mann (P.H.), [2004] 3 S.C.R. 59; 324 N.R. 215; 187 Man.R.(2d) 1; 330 W.A.C. 1; 2004 SCC 52, refd to. [para. 83].

R. v. Golden (I.V.), [2001] 3 S.C.R. 679; 279 N.R. 1; 153 O.A.C. 201; 159 C.C.C.(3d) 449; 2001 SCC 83, refd to. [para. 83].

R. v. Tremblay (1995), 105 C.C.C.(3d) 91 (Que. C.A.), refd to. [para. 83].

R. v. Collins, [1987] 1 S.C.R. 265; 74 N.R. 276, refd to. [para. 88].

R. v. Stillman (W.W.D.), [1997] 1 S.C.R. 607; 209 N.R. 81; 185 N.B.R.(2d) 1; 472 A.P.R. 1, consd. [para. 88].

R. v. Wray, [1971] S.C.R. 272, refd to. [para. 89].

R. v. Fliss (P.W.), [2002] 1 S.C.R. 535; 283 N.R. 120; 163 B.C.A.C. 1; 267 W.A.C. 1; 2002 SCC 16, refd to. [para. 93].

R. v. 2821109 Canada Inc. et al., [2002] 1 S.C.R. 227; 281 N.R. 267; 245 N.B.R.(2d) 270; 636 A.P.R. 270; 2002 SCC 10, refd to. [para. 93].

R. v. Law - see R. v. 2821109 Canada Inc. et al.

R. v. Buhay (M.A.), [2003] 1 S.C.R. 631; 305 N.R. 158; 177 Man.R.(2d) 72; 304 W.A.C. 72; 2003 SCC 30, refd to. [para. 93].

R. v. Harrer (H.M.), [1995] 3 S.C.R. 562; 186 N.R. 329; 64 B.C.A.C. 161; 105 W.A.C. 161, consd. [para. 97].

Statutes Noticed:

Canadian Charter of Rights and Free­doms, 1982, sect. 10 [para. 29].

Highway Traffic Act, S.M. 1985-86, c. 3; C.C.S.M., C. H-60, sect. 76.1(1) [para. 40]; sect. 76.1(6) [para. 37]; sect. 265(1), sect. 265(2) [para. 43].

Counsel:

Sheldon E. Pinx, Q.C., and Sarah A. In­ness, for Orbanski;

Eugene B. Szach and Cynthia Devine, for the Crown;

Jason P. Miller, for Elias;

Robert W. Hubbard and Valerie Hartney, for the intervener the Attorney General of Canada;

Philip Perlmutter and Joan Barrett, for the intervener the Attorney General of Ontario;

Jacques Blais and Gilles Laporte, for the intervener the Attorney General of Que­bec;

Roger F. Cutler, for the intervener the Attorney General of British Columbia;

Thomson Irvine and Alan Jacobson, for the intervener the Attorney General for Saskatchewan;

Jim Bowron, for the intervener the Attor­ney General of Alberta;

Gary T. Trotter and Don Stuart, for the intervener the Criminal Lawyers' Asso­ciation (Ontario).

Solicitors of Record:

Pinx Campbell Inness, Winnipeg, Mani­toba, for Orbanski;

Manitoba Justice, Winnipeg, Manitoba, for the Crown;

Brodsky & Company, Winnipeg, Manito­ba, for Elias;

Attorney General of Canada, Toronto, Ontario, for the intervener the Attorney General of Canada;

Attorney General of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, for the intervener the Attorney General of Ontario;

Department of Justice, Sainte-Foy, Que­bec, for the intervener the Attorney General of Quebec;

Attorney General of British Columbia, Victoria, British Columbia, for the intervener the Attorney General of Brit­ish Columbia;

Saskatchewan Justice, Regina, Saskatche­wan, for the intervener the Attorney General for Saskatchewan;

Alberta Justice, Edmonton, Alberta, for the intervener the Attorney General for Alberta;

Faculty of Law, Queen's University, King­ston, Ontario, for the intervener the Criminal Lawyers' Association (Ontario).

These appeals were heard on October 12, 2005, by McLachlin, C.J.C., Major, Basta­rache, Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Fish, Abella and Charron, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada.

The judgment of the Supreme Court was delivered in both official languages on June 16, 2005 and the following opinions were filed:

Charron, J. (McLachlin, C.J.C., Major, Bastarache, Binnie, Deschamps and Abella, JJ., concurring) - see para­gra­phs 1 to 62;

LeBel, J., dissenting in Elias, concur­ring in Orbanski (Fish, J., concurring) - see paragraphs 63 to 105.

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