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Supreme Court Upholds Acquittal of Quebec Man Who Refused Breathalyzer Test

Supreme Court of Canada is shrouded in fog in Ottawa, on Nov 4, 2022. (The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick)

Canada’s highest court has upheld the acquittal of a Quebec man who refused to provide a sample of his breath to officers who didn’t have immediate access to a breathalyzer test.

The Supreme Court of Canada says the demand was invalid because police did not have in their possession an approved screening device to test for alcohol.

Police in April 2017 were looking for a man who had been reported by patrollers for being drunk while driving an all-terrain vehicle.

Officers stopped a man who was on foot, who allegedly had bloodshot eyes and smelled of alcohol.

Police radioed their nearby colleagues to provide them with a test, but the man repeatedly refused to give a breath sample and insisted he had not been behind the wheel of an ATV.

He was found guilty by a municipal court of refusing to comply with a police order for a breath sample, but the Quebec Court of Appeal acquitted him.

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