VIDEO – Impaired E-Bike Downtown Bust Guilty Plea


(THUNDER BAY, ON) – In a Thunder Bay Courthouse courtroom on December 17th, 2019 a 59-year-old Shirly Burns appeared to enter a guilty plea and be sentenced for an impaired driving charge that was laid on her.


Justice Valente was presiding over the matter that day along with Crown Attorney Gordon Filmore and longtime and expert criminal defence lawyer David Bruzzese who was representing Burns.


According to the agreed statement of facts, on April 8th, 2019 officers with the Thunder Bay Police Service attended the area of Red River Road and Court Street after reports were made regarding an impaired driver who was operating an E-bike. Upon police arrival, they located a female, 59-year-old Shirly Burns and an e-bike that was laying on the ground. Burns told the police “I had a couple drinks” while showing clear signs of intoxication including slurred speech and an odour of alcoholic beverage.

The interaction between Burns and the police was caught on camera and posted to the Thunder Bay Courthouse – Inside Edition Facebook page. We have obtained a copy of that video and it is posted below.

The police investigation determined that Burns was swerving on the e-bike on the roadway and had struck another vehicle. The e-bike was being operated by the motor and not by the pedals, which were not attached at that time. Officers charged her with impaired operation of a conveyance and a breath demand was made before being transported to the Thunder Bay Police Service station located at 1200 Balmoral Street. At the police station, two breath demands were taken.


Gary’s Towing arrived on location and hauled away the e-bike soon after.

Two breath samples, both taken within the required amount of time yielded results of 210mg and 200mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. Court hears that the high numbers she blew is an aggravating factor in the matter.

Bruzzese begins making submissions on behalf of his client, Burns. He tells the court that Burns is on ODSP and volunteers for Elevate. Through counsel, it is stated that Burns was not aware that operating an e-bike is a conveyance under the Criminal Code and adds that under the Highway Traffic Act, it is not considered a conveyance. Burns has a criminal record for impaired but the last entry was 14 years ago.

A joint submission is entered by both the Crown and defence which would have Burns ordered to pay a $2000 fine along with a 2-year driving prohibition along with 12 months of probation. Bruzzese asks for 18 months for Burns to pay the fine as she has limited income.

Justice Valente accepts the joint submission and imposes the fine, probation, and driving prohibition. Court hears that she will also likely have an additional year of a driving prohibition added on by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario.

Her probation conditions will be:

  • Report to probation as required.
  • Attend and participate in any counselling and programs ordered by probation.
  • Attend counselling for alcohol and substance abuse.

Burns walks out of the court room and begins her journey through probation.


6 Replies to “VIDEO – Impaired E-Bike Downtown Bust Guilty Plea”

  1. That’s a stiff fine for someone on ODSP. Her sentence is harsher than many drug dealers get. Not say what she did was OK, but there’s a big difference between a little e-bike and a automobile. This penalty appears a bit extreme. Once again our JPs & judges drop the ball.

    Hope she learns her lesson.

  2. Hope that other asshole who was recently caught with two impaireds within 4 weeks is also handed a very severe fine. Hope this person has learned a lesson now. If she has the money for drinks she can own the fine. I have seen too many individuals on motorized vehicles such as this and electirc wheelchairs driving erratically often on the streets here. They area hazard to themselves and others by not obeying the rules of the road. My pet peeve is someone in one of these motorized vehicles riding on the road in pitch black foggy weather wearing all dark clothes and you dont see them until you are almost on top of them. They should be required by law to have a light on it in front and back.

  3. Hahahaha. Squirrelly Shirley. What about busting the guy that drives his riding lawnmower with a trailer in westfort……

  4. Jusme…if you hit someone on the road in a wheelchair because it was dark and foggy, you will be at fault. They are considered pedestrian and the highway traffic act states that you are responsible to adjust to road conditions and are to avoid obstructions related to the road. Maybe you should try a driver training program, again.

    1. FWborn If YOU read the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, It states that your lights are to be on from dusk to dawn. I do adjust to driving conditions and have no problem driving on interstates and other major highways competently. Now with the new lighting sytem in place on the streets here the visibility is reduced. Add dark foggy weather and it is compounded. Maybe you drive with your eyes half closed and thus far have been very lucky to miss those nimrods in their mortorized vehicles swerving all over the road. . I have been driving for over 30 years accident free and demerit free, so dont tell me how to drive.

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