May 11, 2016 6:02 pm

Over 1,000 people in B.C. waiting overtime on drunk driving appeals

AP Photo/Jay Pickthorn, File
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The appeal process for overturning a drunk driving conviction in B.C. has a massive backlog, argues a B.C. law firm.

Kyla Lee of Acumen Law says that over a thousand people in British Columbia have been waiting more than 21 days for a court ruling in their appeal.

She says the large number of overdue cases causes strain on the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles office, while also reducing the law’s effectiveness – since people waiting for rulings are allowed interim licenses.

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“There is no positive and it is abhorrent, in my view, that the superintendent is not taking steps to address this,” said Lee to CKNW.

“The issues that arise in drunk driving cases are complex legal issues that are properly for the courts and yet we are giving adjuticators who don’t have formal legal training, who aren’t lawyers, who aren’t judges the job of ascertaining these things.”

However, Public Safety Minister Mike Morris argues the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles is still the appropriate venue for appeals.

“There is a backlog, I’ve been aware of that for a while, and I know the superintendent’s office is taking steps to mitigate and reduce that background,” he said.

“It’s my understanding that the majority of the reviews are done within 21 days. There are circumstances that surface from time to time on other reviews that cause the timelines to be extended.”

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