The Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled against hearing the case of a man convicted of impaired driving after he was discovered sleeping behind the wheel of his idling parked truck in London.
Hugh O’Neill planned to argue that the only reason he started his engine on the night in question last December was to keep warm. He argued at trial that friends dropped him off at his truck after a night of drinking and he sat inside with the aim of sleeping until he was sober.
O’Neill claims that he planned to get breakfast in the morning before driving to work.
However, the Appeal Court agreed on Wednesday with the trial judge that O’Neill had failed to rebut the presumption that someone in the driver’s seat has care or control of a vehicle — unless they can show they had no intention of setting the vehicle in motion.
In declining to hear the case, the Appeal Court noted leave to challenge a decision on a question of law and is granted sparingly and that his grounds were weak.
“(O’Neill) did not satisfy the trial judge that it was his intention to leave the vehicle and to walk to some unidentified place for breakfast,” the Appeal Court said.
“(His) evidence on this point was ambiguous at best, and he has identified no palpable and overriding error in the trial judge’s assessment of that evidence.”
Police found O’Neill in his truck outside an industrial building. His blood-alcohol level at the time was well above the legal limit.