Edmonton MP denies using status to influence drunk driving charge

Edmonton-East MP Peter Goldring, left, and his defence lawyer, Dino Bottos speak to the media outside the court house in Edmonton, Alta. on Friday, Nov. 16, 2012.



EDMONTON - Thirteen and a half months after being charged by police with refusing to provide a breath sample, Edmonton MP Peter Goldring finally got his day in court.

Testifying in his own defence on Friday, the 68-year-old politician disputed the evidence of the arresting officer and said his Charter rights were breached, including not being allowed to speak to a lawyer after being arrested.

Goldring also alleged he was physically manhandled by the officer and was handcuffed so tightly that he bled.

As well, he denied both the officer's allegation that he behaved badly towards him and that he had tried to use his position as an MP to influence the situation.

"Absolutely not," was what Goldring said on the witness stand when asked if he had sought special treatment as a result of being an MP or tried to use it to influence things.

It was also the same quote he gave when asked by defence lawyer Dino Bottos if he had locked himself in his SUV when officers were trying to demand a breath sample.

Goldring testified he never actually refused to provide a breath sample and was simply trying to get answers to the concerns he had about the use of the screening device.

Contrary to what arresting officer Const. Trevor Shelrud testified in court, Goldring said the officer placed him under arrest immediately after demanding a breath sample and telling him he couldn't speak to a lawyer first.

Goldring told court he was told to step out of the vehicle and was trying to do that when one of the officers reached in and opened the door and the other guided him out.

He testified he had difficulty getting his hands behind his back due to his jacket and said an "exacerbated" Shelrud "wrenched them back" and then handcuffed him so tightly that they caught his skin and "took a chunk out of it."

On Thursday, Shelrud testified that Goldring was "snarky, dismissive, belligerent, argumentative, judgmental and condescending" after he pulled him over for suspected drunk driving around 12:25 a.m. on Dec. 4, 2011.

Shelrud told court he stopped the MP after he drove out of the parking lot in front of Jox Sports Bar & Grill, and said he demanded a breath sample after Goldring told him he had drank one beer at the bar and he detected a "strong smell of alcohol" on his breath.

Closing arguments in the case are slated for April 16.

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