Justin Segodnia said he doesn’t know if he was speeding when he was snared by a radar gun manned by a city police officer.

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This article was published 24/5/2016 (2194 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Justin Segodnia said he doesn’t know if he was speeding when he was snared by a radar gun manned by a city police officer.

But Segodnia’s ticket — which on Tuesday became the second speeding ticket tossed out by a judge — could have ramifications for thousands of other motorists charged with speeding and other traffic offences.

Provincial court Judge Cynthia Devine tossed out Segodnia’s speeding ticket because she said the 19 months it took for the matter to go to trial violated his constitutional rights.

"A stay of proceedings in this relatively non-serious matter is outweighed by Mr. Segodnia’s right to have a fair trial in a timely fashion and society’s right to have it heard in a timely fashion," Devine wrote in her 18-page decision released Tuesday.

"Highway traffic matters lingering in the courts and gathering dust are in no one’s interest. Public confidence in the prompt and fair administration of justice requires a stay of proceedings in this case."

Court was told Segodnia was driving to work on Oct. 18, 2014, between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m., when he was issued a speeding ticket for driving 76 km/h in a 60 km/h zone. The offence carries a $250 fine and two demerit points.

When Segodnia decided to plead not guilty, his trial was set for May 24, 2016, 19 months later.

'Highway traffic matters lingering in the courts and gathering dust are in no one's interest' 

Segodnia said he is pleased the judge threw out the ticket.

"I didn’t even know there was a backlog when I pleaded not guilty," he said.

"You just put (the court document) on the fridge and wait for the date."

Segodnia, who believes his speedometer malfunctioned that day, said he was ticketed going 76 km/h, even though the officer showed him the radar gun that said 73 km/h.

As well, the officer’s notes indicated speeds of 76, 75, 75 and 73 km/h.

Segodnia said others should also have their tickets tossed out.

"If there’s a problem with the court delay, they’ve now been made aware of it so they should look at the tickets and help people out," he said.

"There is a bigger issue than the monetary penalty. We’re talking about taking away people’s rights."

Segodnia’s lawyer, Inderjit Singh, said the decision may have ramifications for others who have pleaded not guilty to speeding and have waited months for their court date.

"The Crown will have to take it into consideration whether they will be proceeding with others," Singh said.

The decision comes on the heels of a similar decision last week in which a Manitoba woman’s photo-radar ticket was rejected because of the 18-month delay it took to get to trial from the time of the offence.

In that decision, provincial court Judge Mary Kate Harvie ruled the delay was "unreasonable" and the case should have gone to court within four to six months after the plea was entered.

A spokeswoman for Manitoba Justice said the department can’t comment because the Crown will be reviewing the judge’s ruling to see whether it will be appealed.

Last week’s decision is also under review.

In response to that decision, Justice Minister Heather Stefanson said department officials have told her they’re working to reduce the backlog.

Traffic-ticket fighter Todd Dube, of Wise Up Winnipeg, said both judicial decisions have huge ramifications on the ticket cases that have not yet gone to court.

"It means all tickets are affected now," Dube said.

"There are thousands of people charged with rolling through stop signs. It could also be using a cellphone. It is all tickets, not just speeding ones."

Dube said there is a simple solution to solving the problem: "They are issuing too many unfair tickets because of deficient engineering."

"Instead of fixing the (poor) engineering, they are ticketing people and that makes them angry."

Winnipeg Police Board chairman Coun. Scott Gillingham said ticket revenue is part of the police budget, so he is watching the court cases.

"These results may have an impact on the police budget, but this revenue line of the budget has always been susceptible to individuals challenging them in court," he said.

"Every department is responsible to manage their budgets... they have to prepare to adjust."

Gillingham said the bottom line isn’t revenue but public safety.

"At the end of the day, if individuals drive within the posted speed limit the streets are safer, and no one will get a ticket," he said.




Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.