Vehicles taken from bad drivers

In a B.C. first, two cars seized and sold

Anthony Raymond was pulled over by Victoria police for endangering the lives of others with his driving in November 2009.

Just nine days later, Saanich officers pulled the 63-year-old over again. This time, he was driving with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit.

He pleaded guilty to both incidents, as well as a handful of breaches to conditions on his arrest.

This spring, his ‘96 Chevy Suburban was seized and handed over to the Civil Forfeiture Office for auction. It’s a precedent-setting action that should teach drivers to obey the law, or lose their wheels forever.

“It’s clear that some drivers refuse to get the message that drinking and driving is against the law,” said B.C. Solicitor General Shirley Bond.

VicPD worked with the province to have Raymond’s vehicle and one other transferred into the possession of the forfeiture office. A B.C. Supreme Court judge decides on that action and can order forfeiture of a vehicle that has been used to break the law, and that was likely to cause injury or death.

“(The) evidence must demonstrate, to the civil standard of proof (i.e., a balance of probabilities), that the property in question is or was an instrument or proceed of unlawful activity,” a ministry spokesperson said. “Civil forfeiture is a self-funding program – but the province will still pursue cases that are in the public interest, regardless of the value of the assets in question.”

Thirty-year-old Steven Henry is without his Honda Accord under the same principle. He was charged with driving drunk twice in 10 days, in April 2010, and was stopped for a list of other driving offences.

Const. Mike Russell of VicPD said the forfeiture of the vehicles definitely sets a precedent for other B.C. communities.

“Certainly, (they can) buy another car, but if they continue to (break the law), we’ll continue to take them,” Russell added.

Forfeited items, such as vehicles, are sold through the B.C. Auction website, at www.bcauction.ca.

ecardone@vicnews.com

 

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