I’m deeply disturbed. 

The great former captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Rick Vaive, was acquitted of drunk driving, despite having been tested for having twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system.  Such is the state of our justice system.

Justice Anne-Marie Hourigan felt that Vaive had suffered great humiliation and embarrassment on the witness stand, having to tell the court about his bladder problems and his sleep apnea.  And despite the breathalyzer test that showed he was legally intoxicated, she felt videotape of his behaviour at the police station where he was subsequently taken was not consistent with the what the arresting police constable testified to in court.  She also felt that because Vaive’s version of events never waivered, his claim that he was merely “exhausted” and not drunk must have been the truth (insert look of disbelief here).  After all, he hadn’t slept the night before because he didn’t have his sleep apnea machine with him.  Alright, so, if you know you didn’t have a good night of sleep (which, by the way was preceded by a day of drinking while golfing and playing poker into the wee hours), would you drink five beers the next day and then drive?

Justice Hourigan effectively dismissed the results of the breathalyzer test because they were taken outside the two-hour window.  Wait a minute, am I missing something here?  If the test was taken after two hours, isn’t that a bigger problem?  Who knows what the test would have shown if it had been taken within that window?!

FuBu – aka Big Leafs Fan – hopes that Vaive has learned his lesson and believes that he surely would never risk going through this ordeal again.  However, even if that were true, I am most concerned about the message this sends to frequent offenders who have never been caught.  Unless you’ve had to go through what Vaive just did, you are not thinking about the consequences of drunk driving.  This verdict gives potential offenders license to continue their dangerous ways and it certainly doesn’t make me feel comfortable about being on our roads and highways.  How would this outcome have been different if Rick Vaive had struck and killed somoeone that night, perhaps your son, daughter, wife, husband, sibling or parent?  Why does someone have to get hurt before a drunk driver is punished?

This verdict – especially because it involves a high profile person – renders impaired driving a joke, as an act that is socially (and apparently, legally) acceptable.  This sets a tragic precedent.  My prediction?  College frat brothers and sorority sisters will audaciously dare each other to do it, just to prove that they can.  Another good reason to consider donating to the efforts of MADD today.  Stop this madd-ness.

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