CASE LAW - R v Milne

BC Courts Coat of ArmsThis is a unique case that has created a bit of a media buzz since it's release. Gabriel Milne was driving on the Malahat Highway near Langford and chose to pass a small tourist bus that had slowed aggressively in front of him. He changed lanes to do this and during the lane change noticed a transport truck that was overtaking him move into the left lane as well.

Fearing a collision, Mr. Milne sped up, exceeding the posted speed limit, passed the tourist bus and then moved back to the right lane and slowed to the speed limit.

This all took place at a spot where Cst. Narraway of the Capital Regional District Integrated Road Safety Unit (IRSU) was working. He measured the speed of Mr. Milne's vehicle at 105 km/h in the 80 zone, waved him to the side and issued a speeding ticket.

Mr. Milne disputed the ticket, admitted that he was speeding, but justified his action using the defence of necessity. There was no other option open to him to avoid being rear ended by the transport truck.

Cst. Narraway was unable to provide the court with information about the transport truck and it's driver was not called as a witness.

Judicial Justice Gordon examines the defence of necessity and agreed with Mr. Milne, dismissing the ticket.


It's an interesting case, alright. Just from reading the evidence, I get the sense that when the tourist bus slowed (apparently abruptly) his initial reaction should have been to do likewise and get on the brakes.

If you don't take the time to check out the whole situation around you (including traffic behind as well as what the tourist bus suddenly slowed for) then you've got no business attempting to pass. That's pretty much what the law says, along with common sense. 

However, I would bet my bottom dollar that the police officer hasn't ever issued anybody - even a truck driver, with limited braking ability - a ticket for following too closely. And it would be no surprise that he spends lots of time in the sections of highway where the greatest number of people, based on the cirumstances, decide to exceed the speed limit in order to pass efficiently and open things up visually for everybody.

Back when the Malahat didn't have a concrete centre barrier separating the lanes, if you were heading north from Victoria, at the point where you finally had a long double-lane uphill section (ideal and safe for passing whatever had been creating the jam) you could see the donut skid marks from RCMP cars using oncoming radar rapidly changing direction. Apparently safely. Yeah, right. Thankfully, the traffic engineers these days have put up a lot of these barriers and made oncoming radar kinda redundant.

Oh and I must admit, after almost 49 years behind the wheel, I doubt if I have ever passed anything ahead, within our lanes or using the oncoming lane, without exceeding the posted limit. Because I believe in driving safely.