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RCMP officer found not guilty

Laura Busch
Northern News Services
Published Monday, December 19, 2011

A NWT RCMP officer was found not guilty on charges of impaired driving last Tuesday in Yellowknife.

Const. Trent Hayward, who was stationed with the Behchoko RCMP detachment when he was pulled over, was charged while driving between Yellowknife and Behchoko in the early morning hours of Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010.

Hayward had been in Yellowknife visiting his girlfriend for the night. According to testimony in court, he told the arresting officer, Cpl. Matt Hare, that he had consumed six alcoholic beverages that evening. The time between when he had his first drink and when he was pulled over was about nine and a half hours.

Hayward maintained throughout the court proceedings that through his training as a breath technician, he knew it took him 12 doubles during that amount of time to exceed the legal blood alcohol limit for driving.

Hare testified that he had seen Hayward twice the night before he was pulled over, and the second time he observed that Hayward was extremely intoxicated.

Chief Judge Robert Gorin, who presided over the case, said his reasoning for finding Const. Hayward not guilty is the Crown did not prove the level of Hayward's intoxication was enough to impair his ability to drive.

Gorin said it would have been helpful had police been able to submit a blood-alcohol test during the trial. However, such a test was not administered. When Hayward was charged, the intoxilizer machine was out of service at the Yellowknife detachment.

Officers at that time made the call not to bring Hayward to the Behchoko detachment for testing because they thought too much time had passed since he had been pulled over. Gorin said he likely would have accepted test results taken outside of Yellowknife, even if it had been outside the recommended time limit.

Yellowknife staff Sgt. Brad Kaeding defended his officers' actions, saying the public should see from this case that RCMP are willing and able to look into any criminal activity, regardless of personal connections with the accused.

"They could easily have turned a blind eye, not made the effort to pursue a driver who they believed was impaired, and yet they did do that to the full extent," said Kaeding. "And that's what the public expects them to do."

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