The accused, Jamie Kenneth Taylor, was arrested and taken to hospital after crashing his vehicle and injuring three of his passengers. Police suspected that Mr. Taylor was intoxicated but did not advise him of his right to retain and instruct counsel. While Mr. Taylor was at the hospital (in police custody), blood samples were taken to him.
The Supreme Court of Canada upheld the Alberta Court of Appeal’s decision that police were obliged to inform Mr. Taylor of his right to counsel before seizing samples of his blood. “An individual who enters a hospital to receive medical treatment is not in a Charter-free zone,” the Court explained.
The Court concluded that “Mr. Taylor was placed in the unnecessarily vulnerable position of having to choose between his medical interests and his constitutional ones, without the benefit of the requested advice from counsel.” The blood sample evidence was therefore excluded.
Decided by the Supreme Court of Canada on July 18, 2014.
Click here for the full text of the decision.