Red Deer man convicted of obstruction after caught not wearing seatbelt

A defiant passenger who didn’t wear his seat belt and then refused to comply with a Red Deer peace officer was recently convicted of obstruction is out $500.

In a 13-page written decision from Red Deer provincial court judge Bart Rosborough, he convicted Keith Andrew Fraser of obstruction seven months after the trial.

According to the decision, Fraser was a passenger in a vehicle heading south on 59th Avenue on April 21, 2016. Community Peace Officer Brett Baltzer, on duty at the time, observed the passenger in the vehicle not wearing a seatbelt and began to follow.

In the decision, Rosborough wrote Fraser “didn’t think that passengers in a vehicle driven by someone else needed to wear one.”

As he followed, Baltzer saw the passenger reach over to fasten his seatbelt. A traffic stop was initiated and the vehicle occupants were notified the stop was because the passenger was not wearing a seatbelt.

Baltzer said he had dealt with Fraser a few times over the past couple of years and knew his name. However, when he contacted dispatch he was advised there were two Keith Frasers, one of whom had numerous warrants. He asked Fraser to provide his date of birth to verify which Keith Fraser he was.

Fraser refused saying “It doesn’t matter. I’m the passenger. You are harassing me.” He then asked if he contact his lawyer. Baltzer agreed and contacted RCMP member Const. Brittany Eaton, requesting her attendance. Fraser spoke with his lawyer for about 15 minutes.

During Eaton’s investigation, she obtained enough information to identify Fraser and issued a promise to appear on a charge of obstructing a peace officer.

In argument, Fraser’s counsel said he honestly believed he had no obligation to advise Baltzer of his date of birth because he was merely a passenger in the vehicle. Defence also argued that Fraser should not be charged with obstruction by seeking legal advice as to his obligations.

However, the defence did not argue that Fraser’s rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms had been violated.

Rosborough found Fraser guilty, saying he obstructed Baltzer in the execution of his duty. He was fined $500.

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com

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