Former St. Louis Blue and Toronto Maple Leaf has had his second day in court. This time to appeal a conviction that led to a four year sentence for Impaired Driving Causing Death in connection with the accident that claimed another former NHL’er, Keith Magnuson.
The appeal will focus around two specific issues:
1. Was Ramage’s Charter rights violated through the collection of his urine at the hospital?
2. Should the court find that they were not violated, is the four-year sentence imposed by the Ontario Superior Court too harsh?
The court appears to be already leaning toward reducing the sentence through the words of Justice David Doherty who indicated
I think it’s fair to say we’re all concerned about the length of sentence.
To me this is an interesting case and one that affects me personally. I worked with many (if not all) of the officers involved in this case, however, this specific incident was before my time. No police officer likes losing a case because of an error that they committed (i.e. Charter breach), however, although the defence has suggested the officer wilfully breached Mr. Ramage’s rights. It is more likely the officer was acting in good faith with respect to the investigation.
But this begs the question. If an officer, who acting in good faith, breaches an accused person or suspect’s rights, in situations such as this, is justice better served in upholding a conviction or upholding a what would ultimately be a minor Charter violation.
You may wonder why I say minor? Because ultimately, although a breach may have occurred, a warrant surely would have been granted to obtain bodily fluids.