Scales of Justice

Wearing earbud connected to dead cell phone still distracted driving, judge confirms

Surrey driver loses appeal of conviction as judge upholds decision that driving with a dead cellphone is still distracted driving

Looks like Patrick Henry Grzelak will remain guilty as charged of using an electronic device while driving in Surrey despite his claim that the cellphone battery was dead and the only thing connecting him to his phone, by way of his earbuds, was a wire.

B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes in Vancouver has upheld a lower court decision in which Grzelak was found guilty under the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act because the wire from his earbuds was plugged into his iPhone.

The court heard Grzelak was driving home after a “long day of work” and had his phone in the centre cubbyhole of his dashboard. He had explained at trial that although the battery was dead, after a long day of telephone conference calls, he habitually left them in his ears for his drive home in an effort to muffle the noise from traffic.

The judicial justice who presided over the case in provincial court concluded that he was “using” his phone.

“Mr. Grzelak was holding the earbuds in his ears, and the earbuds were effectively part of the iPhone because they were connected to it by their wire,” Holmes noted in her Oct. 6 reasons for judgment.

READ ALSO ZYTARUK: Pondering the cosmic interconnectedness of things

READ ALSO: B.C. driver found guilty of using cellphone despite dead battery

Grzelak appeal of the lower court’s decision was not successful. Holmes concluded the judge had not erred in his decision to convict, finding that “‘holding’ is not restricted to an action a person does with their hands.”

“I see no reason to conclude that a person with earbuds in their ears is not holding the earbuds with that part of their body,” Holmes concluded.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Tom on Twitter

BC Supreme Courtdistracted drivingSurrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A surveillance camera in a photo posted to the Project Iris page on surrey.rcmp-grc.gc.ca.
Quality surveillance video helps catch crooks, Surrey Mounties say

Charges laid in connection to break-and-enter in Guildford area

(Photo: Twitter@SurreyRCMP)
Surrey Mounties, pet owners, bracing for Halloween

Last year the Surrey RCMP received 147 fireworks complaints on Diwali and 121 on Halloween

This year’s annual Lighted Boat Parade has been cancelled. (File photo)
White Rock’s annual Lighted Boat Parade cancelled

COVID-19 cited as main reason for cancellation of popular winter tradition

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Five Surrey schools reporting COVID-19 exposures

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as fake Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee arrive for annual Cascadia conference in Vancouver, Oct. 10, 2018. They have agreed to coordinate the permanent switch to daylight saving time. (B.C. government)
B.C. still awaiting U.S. approval to eliminate daylight saving time

Clocks going back one hour Nov. 1 in Washington too

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

People take a photo together during the opening night of Christmas Lights Across Canada, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The likelihood that most Canadians will enjoy a holly jolly Christmas season of gatherings, caroling and travel is unlikely, say public health experts who encourage those who revel in holiday traditions to accept more sacrifices ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Ho, ho, no: Experts advise preparing for a scaled-back COVID holiday season

Many of the holiday season’s highlights have already been scrapped or are unlikely to take place

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Sen. Kim Pate is shown in Toronto in an October 15, 2013, file photo. The parliamentary budget office says a proposed law that would give judges discretion on whether to apply a lesser sentence for murder could save the federal government $8.3 million per year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel
Judicial discretion for mandatory minimum sentences for murder would save $8.3M: PBO

The result would be fewer people in long-term custody at federal correctional institutions, experts say

Commissioner Austin Cullen looks at documents before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver on February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
RCMP lacked dedicated team to investigate illegal activities at casino, inquiry hears

Hearings for the inquiry are set to continue into next week and the inquiry is expected to wrap up next year

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Court approves money for B.C. foster children alleging harm from Kelowna social worker

The maximum combined total award for basic payments and elevated damages for an individual is $250,000

Most Read