The Blog Post That Led to Acquittal
Earlier today a colleague from work stumbled across an interesting 2011 case from the BC Provincial Court that I thought was worth sharing.
In the recent case (R v. Birring) the Defendant was charged with leaving the scene of an accident following a single vehicle collision. He represented himself in Traffic Court. He came to trial armed with “a one page extract from the internet of a blog of a BC lawyer on the duties of motorists involved in singe vehicle accidents…This internet extract cited ICBC v. Pariah Productions Inc.” (For what its worth here is my 2010 Blog Post titled “Duties of Motorists Involved in Single Vehicle Accidents Discussed” addressing ICBC v. Pariah Productions Inc).
The Presiding Justice of the Peace noted that Blog posts don’t amount to a ‘complete citation’ but expressed surprise at the law as applied in ICBC v. Pariah. Justice of the Peace Gordon reserved judgement to ‘more thoroughly canvass the law‘. After doing so the Court, while voicing criticism of the law as applied in ICBC v. Pariah, concluded the case was binding on the Court and acquitted the Defendant. The Court provided the following reasons:
 Mr. Birring cited in his defence on the first charge that, on the facts, section 68 did not apply to him. In support, he provided the court with a one page extract from the internet of a blog of a BC lawyer on the duties of motorists involved in single vehicle accidents. This form of legal support illustrates the difficulty in traffic court of deciding issues without the benefit of counsel on each side. This internet extract cited ICBC v. Pariah Productions Inc., a decision of the BC Supreme Court. Pariah is an appeal of a decision of this Court in a small claims matter. The extract reproduced in the printout from the blog suggested it supported Mr. Birring’s position, but as it was not a complete citation of the case, and it appeared to give a different interpretation of section 68(1) than I would have, I reserved judgment to more thoroughly canvass the law…
 As I am bound by the decision in Pariah, I conclude that as section 68(1) of the Motor Vehicle Act does not apply based on the interpretation given in Pariah, I must find on the facts that Mr. Birring is not guilty of an offence under any provision of section 68 and I acquit him of charge 1. As there were insufficient facts to support a charge of making an illegal U-turn, I acquit Mr. Birring of charge 2.