CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI — A Prince Edward Island man who drove on the wrong side of University Avenue in Charlottetown and nearly collided with another vehicle has been convicted of impaired driving.
Devanshu Sharma, 22, pleaded not guilty to the charge and had a trial before Chief Judge Jeff Lantz on April 22 in Charlottetown Provincial Court. Sharma represented himself at trial.
Wrong side of the road
Crown Attorney John Diamond’s first witness was a local man who recalled Sharma driving a white Honda in front of him on December 4 at around 7 p.m. Sharma and the man were driving in the same direction on University Avenue toward downtown, but Sharma was wrong. lane and nearly collided with an oncoming vehicle.
The man followed Sharma to the parking lot of a building near the Oak Tree liquor store on Pond Street. The man did not call the police at first, but when he saw Sharma stumbling out of the vehicle and urinating on the building’s lawn, he made the call.
The man also reminded the court that Sharma had tried to enter the building, but was unsuccessful. Sharma returned to his vehicle, grabbed a jacket and put it inside out and inside out. Sharma then got back inside his vehicle. Sharma told the court that he did not live in the building and did not know anyone who lived there.
const. Ashley MacIntyre of the Charlottetown Police Service, who responded to a report of a suspected impaired driver, also testified at trial. MacIntyre said when she arrived she spoke to the witness and then saw Sharma lying in the driver’s seat of her vehicle. Sharma’s vehicle was also illegally parked in an accessible parking space.
MacIntyre noticed that Sharma had slurred speech and a strong smell of alcohol coming from her breath, so she stopped him. She found the vehicle keys in her jacket pocket.
At the Charlottetown Police Station, Sharma provided two breathalyzer samples of 210 and 200 milligrams (mg) of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood, more than double the legal limit of 80 mg.
Sharma spent the night at the Provincial Correctional Center to sober up.
Sharma testified in her own defense. He admitted driving while intoxicated, but he wanted to tell his side of the story.
sister wedding in india
Sharma said that in November, a month before the drunk driving offence, he started having money problems. He took an expensive flight to India to attend his sister’s wedding. When he arrived in India, Sharma learned that his parents had to sell “much of their gold and much of their land” to pay for the wedding.
As an only son, Sharma said he gave all his money to his parents to help them and continued to send them money once he returned to Prince Edward Island. .
Back in PEI, Sharma had no place to live since her residential lease expired in late November.
Sharma said he still had to move his things out of the residence, so he hired a U-haul truck. His plan was to buy a car and live in it until he could afford to buy a house. He did so but was only able to collect the white Honda from the dealership on December 3. Until then, he said he was sleeping in the U-haul.
“It wasn’t the best option, but I went for it,” he said.
Live in your car
He picked up the Honda and slept in it on December 3. But since it was December and it was cold, the following night, which was the night of the infraction, he decided to buy a bottle of whiskey to drink it. Keep warm. After drinking the whiskey, he said he remembered being handcuffed by the police, but not much else that night, including driving.
Since there was no evidence disputing that Sharma was driving drunk, Lantz found him guilty of the charge.
Sharma also pleaded guilty in court to an unrelated offense of public mischief for misleading a police officer into making a false report. Diamond told the court that on March 18, Sharma told police his vehicle was damaged in a hit-and-run. Police investigated the matter and learned from a tow truck driver that Sharma had in fact damaged his vehicle when it collided with a fire hydrant.
For this offence, Diamond recommended 18 months probation and $2,861.31 in restitution to the City of Charlottetown for damage to the fire hydrant.
Lantz adjourned the impaired driving and public mischief cases to May 19 for sentencing.
Sharma had no criminal record.
Terrence McEachern is a crime reporter with the SaltWire Network in Prince Edward Island. @terry_mcn