Vaive drunk-driving verdict in April

Former Maple Leafs captain Rick Vaive leaves a Newmarket, Ont., courthouse, Feb. 22, 2012. (CRAIG...

Former Maple Leafs captain Rick Vaive leaves a Newmarket, Ont., courthouse, Feb. 22, 2012. (CRAIG ROBERTSON/QMI Agency)

JENNY YUEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:29 PM ET

NEWMARKET, ONT. - After a lengthy year-long trial, former Maple Leafs captain Rick Vaive will learn in April whether he's guilty of two impaired driving charges.

Both defence and Crown lawyers concluded their closing arguments Wednesday in Newmarket court, however, Justice Anne-Marie Hourigan is reserving judgment until April 12.

In July 2009, Vaive, 52, was returning to his Oakville, Ont., home from a two-day Muskoka golfing trip in his Ford F-150 pickup truck when he was pulled over by police while on the southbound Hwy. 427 ramp from Hwy 407.

A witness called 911 describing a man in a Woodbridge, Ont., parking lot who reportedly could barely stand up.

When officers pulled Vaive over, his shorts were stained with urine, he allegedly had trouble standing, and "it took three times" for him to present police with his driver's licence and insurance.

Police handcuffed Vaive and brought him to the station and charged him with impaired driving after a breathalyzer test revealed he blew more than twice the legal 80 mg. alcohol limit.

Vaive has pleaded not guilty to impaired driving and driving with more than 80 mg. of alcohol in 100 ml. of blood.

In his submissions, Vaive's lawyer Calvin Barry said arresting York Regional Police Const. Carl Young did not comply with his client's Charter rights by denying him proper access to a criminal lawyer.

At the station, Vaive did make a phone call to his agent, Trevor Whiffen, who once practiced law, but wasn't well versed in criminal law, the court heard.

"It's simply a lapse in protocol in the arresting officer ... which resulted as a serious breach of Mr. Vaive's rights," Barry told court. "He lacked the requisite grounds to arrest - jumped the gun, so speak. The public expects they will be in proper compliance by police ... before breathalyzer tests are conducted."

Barry also said Vaive was wearing Crocs flip-flop sandals and had no ankle support on the grooved rumble strips on the highway, combined with the long two-hour drive, made it difficult for him to properly balance himself.

Vaive's bloodshot eyes were attributed to his lack of sleep the previous night before.

"After driving in the cab for two hours, you'd be shaking it off," Barry said. "It's hardly indicative of 'dangerous' (described) by P.C. Young."

Crown attorney Jon Fuller said there were too many inconsistencies in Vaive's testimony that contradicted other defence witnesses, including Whiffen and Vaive's former linemate Bill Derlago, a backseat passenger in the truck that night.

Fuller pointed out Vaive testified the only thing he had to drink was a glass of wine at dinner after playing golf, but later said he also had four beers on the golf course.

"He said he hadn't been drunk in some time, but we scratched the surface and found it was 60 days before the incident in question," Fuller said.

The Crown also said Derlago attempted to "corroborate the story," but certain details such as Derlago not seeing the urine stain, the number of times the pair get together to play golf and the number of times they pulled over on the drive home, did not match.

"He was best man at Mr. Vaive's wedding. Mr. Derlago comes at this case from a certain vantage point," Fuller said. "What can we say about Mr. Vaive's evidence on his own? It was a contrived explanation, lying to police. He couldn't underplay how much he had to drink, so he lied to the officers."

The Crown noted the breathalyzer test is equal "to any other witness," that police officers working that night had "reasonable grounds" to pull Vaive's truck over and they, in fact, waited 65 minutes for Vaive to reach a lawyer - which Barry claims was more like a half-hour.

"It's tough because here's a guy that just wants to get this over with," Barry said outside of court. "He's walked through his whole life without a blemish. Usually the media he had was supportive and this has not been fun. We'll have to see on judgment day - hopefully, we'll have a verdict in his favour."

jenny.yuen@sunmedia.ca


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