Officials seek to overturn judge’s precedent in ticket case


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Justice officials are fighting a judge’s precedent-setting decision to toss a Winnipeg woman’s photo-radar ticket on the grounds she was the victim of an unreasonable delay.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/06/2016 (2427 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Justice officials are fighting a judge’s precedent-setting decision to toss a Winnipeg woman’s photo-radar ticket on the grounds she was the victim of an unreasonable delay.

Court records show a notice of appeal was filed last week in the case of Genevieve Grant. No date for a hearing has been set.

Provincial court Judge Mary Kate Harvie put the fate of thousands of outstanding traffic tickets in limbo last month when she ruled Grant’s trial date of April 27, 2016 — 18 months to the day after the offence allegedly occurred — was “unreasonable and represents a violation of (the Canadian) Charter (of Rights and Freedoms).”

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Winnipeg police have said the impacts of a judge’s precedent-setting traffic ticket decision could reduce the effectiveness of tickets and cost the department.

Harvie said it should only take four to six months for such a case to be heard in court because of the “minimal amount of time for preparation and a minimal amount of actual court time.”

Court was told Genevieve Grant was caught speeding Oct. 27, 2014, by a photo-radar camera and mailed an offence notice Nov. 4, 2014, giving her until Dec. 19, 2014 to decide whether to pay it or plead not guilty. When she decided to plead not guilty, the trial date was set for 18 months from the date of the offence.

Grant and her lawyer both declined comment on Wednesday.

Traffic-ticket fighter Todd Dube of Wise Up Winnipeg said before photo radar was implemented in Winnipeg, it took people about four to five months to get to court. But Dube said after photo radar came in, and with it the many tickets issued daily, the process slowed to a crawl.

On Wednesday, Dube said he was “disappointed” with the Crown’s decision to appeal.

“I thought the new government was going to take this opportunity to separate themselves from what was an NDP debacle in terms of unfair enforcement,” he said. “Yet they’re in to defend it, which , to me, means that it can be about nothing more than money, principles gone out the window.”

Dube added he was surprised by the Crown’s move, since Harvie’s decision was based on a Charter right.

“Frankly, I just don’t know how they’re going to go against something that is established in the Charter,” he said. “It’ll be interesting to see what point of law they’re arguing in appeal. They have to identify an error or errors in the decision, which I don’t believe is possible.”

Winnipeg police have said the impacts of the judge’s decision could reduce the effectiveness of tickets, and cost the department.

“In terms of the tickets being ‘tossed,’ first and foremost the intention of the detection of the offence and the subsequent fine is to change driver behaviour,” Insp. Gord Friesen told the Free Press in an email last month. Friesen is the commander of the Winnipeg Police Service’s community support division, which includes the central traffic unit.

“If there is no fine associated with the detection of the offence, this will decrease the likeliness of changing the dangerous driving behaviour,” he said.

“As the photo enforcement program is part of the Winnipeg Police Service, any net surplus is incorporated into the budget to fund other policing activities,” Friesen wrote at the time.

Figures he provided from the 2015 photo-enforcement annual report show the Winnipeg Police Service reported 2015 photo-enforcement program revenues as $17,252,999.39 with expenses of $5,517,736. Once all costs were added up, the surplus from photo-radar enforcement was $11,735,263.

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