It looks like in an effort to unclog the courts the BC Government has clogged up an appeal process for accused drunk drivers leaving some of them waiting years for a decision.
Acumen Law Lawyer Kyla Lee says a BC Supreme Court judge ruled the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles must issue decisions within a reasonable time frame.
“There are over a 1000 people who didn’t get a decision in the 21 day time period and are waiting.”
Lee says accused drunk drivers, innocent or guilty, are back on the road with interim drivers licences until a decision is made.
“No there is no positive and it is abhorrent, in my view, that the superintendent is not taking steps to address this. When I filed these documents in court I thought it would spur them along in speeding up and rendering decisions but nothing has changed. There is actually a table that you can see of all of the decision that are outstanding there are over 1000 files.”
Lee says a BC Supreme Court judge ruled in favour of her argument that DUI appeal decisions cannot be put off indefinitely.
“I think what the government is asking of the tribunal is too big for them to handle. The issues that arise in drunk driving cases are complex legal issues that are properly for the courts and yet we are giving adjuticators who don’t have formal legal training, who aren’t lawyers, who aren’t judges the job of ascertaining these things.”
She says the tribunal is in way over its head and these are issues that need to be returned to the court system to be dealt with.
Acumen is currently fighting another battle with the process over documents which it claims prove the province rigged the drunk driver appeal process.
It says officials within the Attorney General’s office pressured adjudicators to uphold decisions in order to protect DUI laws.
Acumen claims it has the paperwork to prove it, but can’t reveal them while the government appeals their release.
The firm says the file could end up overturning hundreds of cases, and put the review tribunal itself in question.