R v Notaro, 2018 ONCA 449
Does the failure by an officer to consider the presence of residual mouth alcohol make it unreasonable for the officer to rely on an ASD fail result in forming reasonable and probable grounds for an arrest and evidential breath demand?
The answer is no. “There can be reasonable grounds even where an officer fails to consider the presence of residual mouth alcohol…The existence of reasonable and probable grounds does not turn upon whether an arresting officer has considered the possibility of residual mouth alcohol or its effects” [@22 and 23].
First, “it is settled law that arresting officers do not have a duty to inquire into the presence of residual mouth alcohol; it makes no sense to treat a failure to consider something that there is no duty to inquire about to be a Charter violation” [@24].
Second, “the reasonable and probable grounds test does not turn on the quality of the inquiry, such as whether the arresting officer asked herself all of the questions that a prudent person would. It turns, instead, on whether the arresting officer subjectively has an honest belief that the suspect has committed an offence and whether, objectively, there are reasonable grounds for that belief” [@25].
The Fine Print
First, there is not duty to inquire into the presence of residual mouth alcohol and failure to ask about last drink is not fatal: “Reasonable and probable grounds is determined, instead, according to the subjective belief of the arresting officer, and whether, on the information known to the officer, that belief is reasonable” [@33].
Second, “the effect of the law relating to the objective component of the reasonable grounds test can be put this way”:
- If the information known to an arresting officer about a suspect’s residual mouth alcohol would make it unreasonable for the officer to rely on the accuracy of an ASD fail result, reasonable and probable grounds will not be established, whether or not the arresting officer turned her mind to the presence or effect of residual mouth alcohol.
- If it is reasonable for the arresting officer to rely on an ASD fail result based on the information known to her, then the failure of the arresting officer to turn her mind to the presence or effect of residual mouth alcohol is immaterial.