(File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo Inc. / Klementiev)(File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo Inc. / Klementiev)

CK cop suffers setback, judge rules Charter rights not breached

The case of a veteran off-duty Chatham-Kent police officer accused of drunk driving and leaving scene will be moving ahead after his Charter application was denied.

A motion was previously brought forward by Bryan Vaughan's lawyer alleging a breach or breaches of Vaughan's Charter rights when he was arrested at his home on January 5, 2022.

The Charter guarantees people in Canada cannot face unreasonable searches and seizure of person or property.

Vaughan's case will be up for discussion again on Friday morning to set a date for the next steps, which could include a possible sentencing hearing if there's a guilty plea to the charges.

The 16-year veteran cop was charged with impaired driving after a single vehicle crash in Chatham January 5, 2022.

Chatham-Kent police said officers were called to the scene on Howard Road near Indian Creek Road at around 7 p.m., adding the driver, an off-duty officer, had left the scene by the time police arrived.

Vaughan was arrested at his home and charged with having a blood alcohol content over the legal limit and failing to report an accident, police said.

The judge told the Ontario Court of Justice in Chatham on Thursday the investigation and evidence gathering done by Chatham-Kent police was done properly when officers went to Vaughan's home.

The judge concluded the accused knew the police was there to question him about the collision involving his vehicle, adding it wasn't a surprise visit.

"In this case the police were attempting to speak to the applicant whose vehicle was involved in an accident and circumstances where the driver had left the scene," said the judge. "I'm also satisfied the officers were invited into the residence by Miss Vaughn [the accused officer's wife]. Both officers were consistent in this regard. In those circumstances there would have been no reason for the officers to attend inside the residence without her consent as opposed to waiting outside. The applicant was clearly consenting to meet with the officers regardless of which side of the door they were on."

The judge said he was convinced the discussions took place in the foyer of Vaughan's home and officers did not enter any other room to gather evidence.

The judge was also convinced Vaughan's wife was not the one driving the vehicle when the crash happened, as alleged by Vaughan.

The arresting officers testified that Vaughan appeared "substantially intoxicated" when he answered the front door and had a "fresh" abrasion on his forehead.

The trial could have been stopped by the Crown or ended by the judge, or evidence could have been excluded from the trial if the Charter application was successful, putting the impaired driving charge in jeopardy and possibly allowing the accused officer to walk free.

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