MP questioned authority of police after being pulled over, asked for breath test

EDMONTON – A court has heard that an Edmonton MP questioned the authority of officers to demand a breath sample after he was stopped following a 2011 Christmas party.

Police have testified they were conducting a routine checkstop when Peter Goldring was pulled over after he drove out of bar parking lot just after midnight on Dec. 4, 2011.

Sgt. Conrad Moschansky, a supervising officer, was called in to help with the high-profile subject. Moschansky 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. He smelled of liquor.

Moschansky read out detailed notes from the investigation. He said the politician acknowledged he had been drinking earlier that night at the party.

“Of course I did. Who doesn’t?” the officer recalled Goldring telling him.

The officer testified the MP had many questions and was growing frustrated.

“What gives you the right to ask me to blow?” Goldring asked. “How can you just stop me for no reason?”

Moschansky said he explained to Goldring that previous Supreme Court decisions allow officers to stop drivers to check on their sobriety. When Goldring muttered about needing to talk to somebody about the situation, Moschansky told him he wasn’t yet allowed to talk with a lawyer.

Another officer at the scene repeatedly read aloud the legal demand for a breath sample, said Moschansky. Goldring never answered yes or no.

Moschansky said he told Goldring he needed an answer or he would be charged with refusing a breath sample.

Goldring “then began to ask me how many beers or drinks it would take to blow over.”

Moschansky said he explained that various factors, including height and weight, determine how much alcohol it takes to blow .08.

“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.

He was later released and driven home by his wife, who had been in her own car, watching the arrest.

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.

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