Legal guide levels the field

Author: Crown counsel’s book helps police, prosecutors.

Weighty subject: Salmon Arm Crown Counsel Greg Koturbash spent four years writing a guide to help police and prosecutors with impaired driving investigations.

A 12-year-old girl who lost her mother to the negligence of a Salmon Arm drunk driver sparked a Crown prosecutor to author a book designed to help police and prosecutors bring impaired drivers to justice.

“That case really stayed with me,” explains Greg Koturbash, who in his 18 years as a Crown prosecutor has seen hundreds of impaired-driving cases proceed through the court system. “It made me think about what I could do to change things.”

Koturbash was also disturbed by a guide published by a defence lawyer which outlines ways of helping impaired drivers beat their criminal charges.

“I just kept thinking there had to be a way to level the playing field. That’s when I had the idea to write a straightforward resource for police and prosecutors that could prevent impaired drivers from walking away.”

Koturbash admits he was frustrated by cases that would get thrown out of court because of procedural errors.

“The police have a difficult job. Impaired driving investigations are only one part of their job… It is difficult for them and even prosecutors to keep up with the latest defences.”

So despite days packed with court cases, Koturbash worked on the project on nights and weekends. The book, Law Professionals Guide: Investigating Impaired Drivers, is the culmination of roughly four years and many hundreds of hours of research and writing. It is dedicated to his wife Lynn and his two children, thanking them for their patience.

“I got to about the half-way point before thinking this is too much work, but by then I had too much personal time invested in it to stop. I feel very passionately about seeing something change, so that helped me get through.”

The book is deliberately designed and published to be convenient for police to carry in their cars and to use as an immediate reference if needed.

“It’s too complex to be one of those Dummies guides,” he says referring to the popular book series. “But I wanted to use plain language and examples to help simplify and explain why the courts want things done in a certain way.”

Koturbash notes his book is aimed at a very specific audience, joking that the average reader could use the guide as a sedative.

But that is not the case among law-enforcement and legal circles. The guide received rave reviews in Blue Line Magazine, a publication for Canadian police officers, who called it up-to-date, well-written, researched, referenced, and indexed.

“This is a must-have book… and you can take that from a 20-year-traffic cop. It will not disappoint,” says the reviewer.

It is not all dry material. Koturbash also reviews some pretty unique impaired-driving cases, including a few which involved drinking drivers of zambonis, motorized bar stools and even a child’s motorized Barbie play car.

For more information and to read a sample of the book, go to www.gregkoturbash.com.

 

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