Ian Pumphrey, who was acquitted of the allegation that he was talking on his cellphone while driving, was in the Yukon Court of Appeal this week where an Appellate Court Judge ruled that he was indeed guilty of using a mobile device while driving.
In the Yukon Supreme Court, Pumphrey successfully argued that because his cellphone was wedged between his ear and shoulder, he technically was using his device “hands free”. The Crown appealed the decision of the Supreme Court Judge, and, when the case was heard in the Yukon Court of Appeal earlier this week, a Judge agreed with the Crown and found Mr. Pumphrey guilty.
The Judge stated that the Supreme Court Judge had erred when he ruled that he had no jurisdiction to interpret the ambiguous language of the Motor Vehicle Act. The Appellate Court Judge advised that it is the Courts duty to interpret language where it is unclear. He went on to say that in his interpretation, hands-free means “use without being held by the operator in any fashion”. He imposed a suspended sentence and one day of probation on Pumphrey. He also advised that he had wished to grant Mr. Pumphrey an absolute discharge, due to the work he had done in representing himself, but declared that he did not have the jurisdiction to impose such a sentence.
Bottom line: If you have to take that call, just pull over.