Two friends in Nova Scotia, Deegan and Pleau, shared a few beers while their wives went to bingo. On a cigarette break, Deegan fell down the stairs, gashing open his skull and sustaining a concussion. He was incoherent and having trouble breathing. Their wives had the keys to the apartment and neither had a cellphone. Pleau drove Deegan to the hospital for treatment, and a nurse called the police. Pleau was charged with impaired driving but pled not guilty, arguing that he drove by necessity to save his friend. The trial judge wryly noted: “Obviously, if Mr. Pleau and Mr. Deegan were non-smokers none of this would have occurred. There are any number of reasons for individuals to quit the habit of smoking. This case outlines another one.” Nevertheless, he bought Mr. Pleau’s argument and acquitted him. He wrote “His inability to call 911, the panic of being locked out of the apartment building with someone in obvious medical distress would lead the accused to take the action he did…rare is the case where such evidence would be accepted but this is such a case”.
R. v. Pleau, 2013 NSPC 116 (CanLII)