Criminal Justice

Inebriated man who drove injured friend to hospital wins acquittal in drunken-driving case

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A cigarette break outside during a night of drinking became an emergency last year when Roger Pleau’s friend, Eldon Deegan, fell down some stairs and gashed his head on a metal railing.

At that point, the two Canadians realized they were locked out of Deegan’s apartment—their wives, who had gone out to play bingo, had the keys. And neither man had a cellphone. But they were able to get a car started, and Pleau drove his friend, who was nearly unconscious, to a local Nova Scotia hospital. A nurse noticed their condition, and a drunken-driving charge resulted for Pleau, according to CBC News and the Canadian Press.

Judge Paul Scovil acquitted Pleau on Tuesday, agreeing that necessity justified his getting behind the wheel because no reasonable legal alternative existed at the time of the October 2012 incident, given the extent of his friend’s injuries.

“Mr. Pleau thought his friend was going to die. I accept what Mr. Pleau testified to. He gave evidence in a forthright and credible manner. No doubt credibility is key in cases like this,” the judge said.

“His inability to call 911, the panic of being locked out of the apartment building with someone in obvious medical distress would lead the accused to take the action he did.”

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