Edmonton MP says he refused breathalyzer because he worried it was too soon
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, January 17, 2013 3:59PM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 18, 2013 8:29PM EST
EDMONTON -- An Edmonton MP has testified that he would have taken a roadside breath test, but didn't have confidence in the processes police were following.
Peter Goldring says he was worried officers were asking him to take the test too soon after his last drink.
Goldring is fighting a charge of refusing to take a breathalyzer after he was stopped coming out of a bar in December 2011. He took the stand in his own defence Friday.
On the night of the stop, Goldring testified he popped into Jox Sports Bar and Grill for a beer after a Christmas party at a nearby Ukrainian centre.
He had drank one, maybe two, glasses of wine hours early at the party and then spent most of the night talking. His throat was dry and he needed some relief.
Goldring said it took five minutes at the most to slug back a cold glass of draft. He left the bar and got back in his truck.
As soon as he hit the street he saw flashing lights.
Goldring testified that he explained his situation to the officer.
When the officer demanded a roadside breath test he said he was uncomfortable and asked to speak with a lawyer.
Goldring said the officer refused the request and told him he was under arrest.
Goldring said the officer asked him what he did for a living. Goldring said he was an MP. A supervisor was called.
Goldring said at one point he agreed to do the breath test. The officers told him they would wait 15 minutes from his last drink.
But Goldring said that didn't happen and he was uncomfortable.
He testified he also didn't understand that the roadside test was only used to decide whether he should be brought into the station for another test on a more accurate machine operated by a trained technician. Had he known that, Goldring said, he would have complied.
The officer who stopped him testified that Goldring was angry and argumentative during the stop.
Sgt. Conrad Moschansky, a supervising officer who showed up later, told the trial that Goldring was sitting in his locked pickup truck. He refused to get out, but rolled the window down slightly to talk with police.
Moschansky said he smelled of liquor.
He said the MP had many questions about the process and was growing frustrated with officers.
"What gives you the right to ask me to blow?" he recalled Goldring asking. "How can you just stop me for no reason?"
Moschansky said when he told Goldring he needed an answer on whether he would take the test, Goldring asked how many drinks it would take to blow over.
"And if I blow over?" asked Goldring. Moschansky told him he would be arrested.
"He said, 'Well, if I blow, it's over anyways,"' Moschansky recalled.
Moments later, when it was clear Goldring was not going to take a breath test, Moschansky said he reached in through the window, unlocked the truck and pulled out the MP. He was handcuffed and arrested.
The officers have testified that the handcuffs left Goldring with a small cut on his wrist.
But Goldring testified he lost a big chunk of flesh and his wrist was covered in blood.
He said he ended up going to hospital in the following days for tests to ensure he hadn't contracted any diseases.
Goldring has been an MP for Edmonton East since 1997. He was elected most recently as a Conservative, but has sat as an Independent since shortly after his arrest.
The defence has indicated it plans to challenge the case on constitutional grounds.
Arguments have been scheduled for April.