Citing a flawed police investigation, a Chilliwack judge has thrown out much of the Crown's evidence against a man charged with hitting a convenience store employee while driving drunk.
William Fraser Alexander Fulton, 70, is standing trial on charges of impaired driving causing bodily harm and causing an accident resulting in bodily harm.
On Sept. 1, 2010, an employee of a Yale Road 7/11 was standing outside the building, talking on his phone. He testified that he heard a large roar just before being struck by what turned out to be Fulton's Oldsmoble Aurora.
The victim suffered soft tissue injuries and was taken to hospital. He was released but the court heard that he has not yet fully recovered from his injuries.
Fulton's car stopped immediately following the collision and both airbags deployed. Const. Patrick Maisonneuve testified in court that, upon arriving on the scene, he observed powder from the airbags floating around the apparently unconscious driver just after the accident.
A paramedic who treated Fulton-who was drifting in and out of consciousness- smelled alcohol on the driver's breath.
The trial is still continuing, judge Russell MacKay ruled that neither statements Fulton made to Const. Dave Lastucka following the collision nor a sample of Fulton's blood, are admissable as evidence because of police error.
MacKay noted that Lastucka's notes from the day are "woefully incomplete." In particular, he said that it is not clear whether information collected by the officer came from Fulton's statements or from the paramedic on scene.
"It is entirely unclear where and when some of the comments were made," MacKay said. "Some may have been said by someone else."
MacKay heard testimony that Fulton asked for a lawyer while in the ambulance with the officer and paramedic, immediately after being told that he was under suspicion.
But MacKay noted that the officer made no attempt to connect Fulton with a lawyer while he was being detained.
"Nothing beyond lip service was done to ensure his Section 10 rights were observed," MacKay said.
MacKay also ruled that the production order that allowed police to seize samples taken of Fulton's blood was also not valid.
Fulton also vigorously resisted efforts to have blood samples taken while being treated at Chilliwack General Hospital.
A production order to obtain a blood sample had been granted by a justice of the peace. But MacKay ruled that, having ruled out Fulton's statements to police, there was insufficient evidence for the order to have been granted.
? The trial is scheduled to continue in April.
© Copyright 2013