Durham police publishing names of suspected impaired drivers
ABOVE: Would you want your drunk driving charge posted online? Cindy Pom reports.
TORONTO – Durham police are outing drivers pulled over and charged at RIDE checkpoints this holiday season.
The list of drivers, posted weekly on the Durham Regional Police website, publishes the name of the accused, their gender, their city and the accompanying charge.
“The decision was made that it would be a proactive measure to let people know that if they are arrested and charged with drinking and driving offences, they may have their name, and in our case with our service, they will have their names posted on our exterior website,” Sgt. Nancy Van Rooy said Monday.
Durham Regional Police has been publishing the names of people arrested and charged for seven years now and for the most part, it has been “applauded,” Van Rooy said. She admitted a controlled study has not been done to show whether it’s effective but does feel “satisfied that it could make a difference for us.”
But at least one person who was pulled over is angry her charges are being shared online. In a telephone interview with Global News, the woman said she is “pissed off” that police are publishing her name.
“Everybody is innocent until proven guilty, right? Let me have my day in court,” she said. “They don’t have the right to do that. I mean, I’m not convicted of anything yet.”
She agreed to speak to Global News on the condition her name would not be published.
Sukanya Pillay, interim general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), was concerned about the potential privacy violations.
“Well we have to be clear. These people have been charged but they haven’t been convicted,” she said.
Pillay worried the outing could affect job prospects for people in the future as the names could easily be found through an Internet search.
“Well I don’t think it’s a good way to deter people. That’s speculation. First of all, the people haven’t been proven guilty and secondly, this public shaming thing—it’s a serious violation of somebody’s privacy rights,” she said.
“This isn’t the wild west, we don’t have ‘wanted’ posters up.”
Van Rooy noted that while no other police agencies release the names, most police services publish hundreds of press releases a year with similar information.
“Yes we are coming forward and we are releasing the names of those arrested and charged for drinking and driving offences during our festive ride campaign,” Van Rooy said. “But on a regular basis, with hundreds of media releases a year, we are doing the same for other types of offences as well.”
– With files from Cindy Pom
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