Administrative law – Decisions of administrative tribunals – Motor vehicles – Suspension of driver’s licence – Evidence – Mandatory medical examination – Judicial review – Compliance with legislation
Gyles v. British Columbia (Superintendent of Motor Vehicles),  B.C.J. No 2158, British Columbia Court of Appeal, October 21, 2004, Finch C.J.B.C., Esson and Newbury JJ.A.
The Court of Appeal followed the decision in Sigurdson v. B.C., 2003 BCCA 535, in which Low J.A. determined that the Superintendent’s policy of requiring an examination for fitness where there are three roadside suspensions within two years was reasonable.
Gyles argued that there was a lack of evidence to show three roadside suspensions within a two year period, despite having sworn an affidavit indicating that he did have three roadside suspensions on his driving record. Gyles argued that the roadside suspensions were not evidence of driving under the influence of alcohol because they only represented the peace officers’ subjective opinion as to his condition. The Court held that where “…a driver who has received a 24-hour roadside prohibition does not dispute the prohibition, it is not unreasonable to conclude that the driver admits the infraction for which the prohibition was issued”.
Gyles also submitted that the roadside suspensions were invalid for non-compliance with the provisions of ss. 215(10) and (11) of the Motor Vehicle Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 318. These subsections provide that a peace officer who issues a driving prohibition must report the prohibition to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia. The Court held that this submission was irrelevant to the issue before the chambers judge, namely whether the Superintendent could lawfully require the petitioner to submit to a medial examination. Compliance with ss. 215(10) and (11) was held not to be a prerequisite for using roadside suspensions.
Gyles made a final argument that the learned chambers judge erred in holding that repeated roadside suspensions may be an indicator of alcoholism. Again, the Court of Appeal rejected this argument, finding that roadside suspensions may indicate alcoholism, despite the fact that some individuals who are not alcoholics receive roadside suspensions.
The appeal was dismissed.
To stay current with the new case law and emerging legal issues in this area, subscribe here.