NEWS
09/09/2014 11:32 EDT | Updated 11/09/2014 05:59 EST

Booze border limit challenge could be 'revolutionary,' judge says

The trial of a New Brunswick man charged with exceeding his cross-border alcohol limit has been adjourned until December.

But if his lawyer succeeds in challenging the limit as unconstitutional, the case will be "revolutionary," said Campbellton provincial court Judge Steven Hutchison. 

He made the comment on the bench on Tuesday morning.

Gerard Comeau, of the Tracadie area, was due to stand trial for illegally importing alcohol from Quebec.

But the judge said the documents were not in order and rescheduled the matter to Dec. 1 at 1:30 p.m.

Mikael Bernard, a lawyer from Balmoral, is representing Comeau and two other people who are facing similar charges pro bono [voluntarily], arguing the law is outdated and has been superceded by the Constitution.

Under the provincial Liquor Control Act, the maximum amount of alcohol that can be legally imported into New Brunswick from another province is one bottle of wine or spirits, or 12 pints of beer, which is about 18 bottles or cans.

Offenders are subject to an automatic fine of $292.50 and their liquor is seized and destroyed.

Bernard has said the last court decision on point dates back to 1928, during the prohibition period.

He has also said it does not make sense that the rules are more stringent for people returning with beer from other Canadian provinces than the United States.

Bernard intends to call an expert witness from Toronto during Comeau's trial. Two days have been set aside.

Bernard will also be representing Reggie Brideau, of Tracadie, and Charlene Mullaley, of Lorne, at a later date.

James Messer, of New Zion, who is facing the same charge, is being represented by Paul Hayes in English.

Many Campbellton-area residents travel to Pointe-à-la-Croix, Que., which is about a kilometre away, to buy cheaper booze. In some cases, it's almost half the price.