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Conviction thrown out against suspected texter

An Ontario Provincial Police officer “clearly operated on a hunch” when stopping a driver he thought had a cellphone in his hand while at a red light, Toronto criminal lawyer Richard Litkowski tells Canadian Lawyer.

An alcohol-related conviction against Imran Mughal was recently thrown out in Ontario Superior Court, the article says, noting Litkowski, associate with Hicks Adams LLP, represented Mughal on the appeal of his conviction in R. v. Mughal.

In February 2013, the article reads, an officer believed Mughal was texting but never actually saw him doing it, nor did he see a cellphone in his hands. In his ruling, Justice Peter Howden stated, “There was no evidence of bad or distracted driving or of a communication device being used by the appellant,” Canadian Lawyer reports.

The officer also read a demand for a breath sample after smelling alcohol in the car, the article says, noting Mughal refused. The officer arrested Mughal for refusing to provide the sample.

Mughal suggested the smell was due to alcohol used as part of his son’s bottle drive that had spilled in the car, the report says, noting Mughal was convicted for refusing to provide a breath sample at trial, but on appeal, Howden threw out the conviction and stayed further proceedings on the charge.

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