It has been just over a year since Ontario introduced its ignition interlock program. In a recent blog on this program Edward Prutschi offered a helpful review of the program and some interesting stats: Ontario's Ignition Interlock Program - Facts & Figures (slaw.ca).
As Prutschi points out, other provinces have similar legislation in place. One of those provinces is Saskatchewan. In a recent decision from that province, R v Poitras, 2011 CarswellSask 290, 2011 SKPC 53 (reported in Segal's Motor Vehicle and Impaired Driving Newsletters) the court tackles an interesting issue.
Poitras was found driving his motor vehicle 17 days after being convicted of driving while disqualified and given a one year driving prohibition. While there was no dispute, therefore, that he was driving while prohibited, the court considered whether the Crown would need to prove, in a prosecution for driving prohibited under section 259(4), that an accused was not registered in an ignition interlock program (although that clearly could not have been the case in Poitras).
Gray J ultimately concluded that the Crown did not bear such an onus and offered the following succinct conclusion in this regard:
The conduct prohibited by s. 259(4) is the operation of a motor vehicle while under an order of prohibition or disqualification. It is my view that the addition to the section of the words "other than an offender who is registered in an alcohol ignition interlock device program ....and who complies with the conditions of the program" has not added to or changed the essential elements required for proof of the offence. Although the Provincial Court of Alberta in Liptak (supra) held that those words do create an additional element, that decision is not binding on this Court. After reading and considering the decision in Dumais (supra), it is my view that the reasoning there applies equally to the case at hand. Thus, the phrase in question creates an exception for those individuals who elect to participate in the alcohol ignition interlock program. As an exception, the burden of proving that it operates in favour of the defendant is on the defendant: see s. 794(2) of the Criminal Code [para 16]; [emphasis added].