08/27/2015 12:16 EDT | Updated 08/27/2016 01:12 EDT

Crown witness at beer trial says sections of Constitution have gone dormant

CAMPBELLTON, N.B. — A challenge of New Brunswick liquor laws on constitutional grounds has heard from a professor who says sections of the Canadian Constitution being cited have gone dormant.

Gerard Comeau, who lives in Tracadie, was caught in October 2012 with 14 cases of beer and three bottles of liquor that he had bought in Quebec.

Section 134 of the New Brunswick Liquor Control Act limits anyone from having more than 12 pints of beer not sold by a provincially licensed liquor outlet.

The defence calls that unconstitutional because Section 121 of the Constitution Act says all goods from a province are to be admitted free into each of the other provinces.

However, Tom Bateman, a political science professor at St. Thomas University, says no province would consider imposing duties at provincial borders, so the section has become dormant.

Outside the court, Karen Selick of the Canadian Constitution Foundation responded that it's section 134 of the provincial act that is dormant, and was only used during the two days of the police sting operation when Comeau and 16 others were charged.

Earlier in the week a vice president of NB Liquor said the Crown corporation makes about $165 million in annual profits for the province, and that could be at risk if Section 134 is struck down.


The Canadian Press