Blue Line

News
Charter rights to fuel speeding ticket case in Manitoba appeal court hearing

WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s top court is expected to use a speeding-ticket case to decide whether simple traffic disputes should fall under the same 18-month deadline the Supreme Court set for criminal cases winding their way through provincial courts across Canada.


September 11, 2017
By The Canadian Press

The Manitoba Court of Appeal ruled this week that it will hear the case of Winnipegger Genevieve Grant, who is fighting a ticket issued after a vehicle she owned was caught on camera speeding through a school zone in October 2014.

Grant argued her charter rights were violated because the case took too long to get to trial and the ticket was initially dropped in a precedent-setting lower-court ruling brought down in the spring of 2016.

A trial had been set for 18 months less eight days down the road — almost at the Supreme Court-imposed 18-month deadline for provincial court trials.

The case was already in the system when the high court imposed the deadlines last summer and Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Vic Toews ruled this past March that the ticket be reinstated because Grant had not been subjected to unreasonable delays.

A date for the appeal hearing has not been set.

One of the questions the appeal court is expected to answer is whether Toews correctly interpreted the Supreme Court decision to determine if Grant’s charter rights were violated.

“Trial judges are interpreting the law differently, and one of the roles of this court is to settle the law,” Court of Appeal Justice Diana Cameron wrote in her decision.

Grant is currently fighting 10 photo radar tickets in provincial court. Her lawyer, Markus Buchart, was awaiting a decision expected Friday from provincial court Judge Tim Killeen on whether another of his client’s traffic trials has been unreasonably delayed.

It was set for 18 months and 10 days after Grant was ticketed. The trial date is now set for Sept. 29, when arguments on four of her 10 tickets are expected to be heard.

Buchart is arguing court delays have violated his client’s rights and special constables should not be considered peace officers when it comes to doling out tickets.

He told court his client intends to keep fighting the tickets.

“She is the registered owner of five cars and there are five household members, so the number of tickets is reflective of the fact there are five drivers,” he said.

Motorists’ advocate Todd Dube of Wise Up Winnipeg said traffic court backlogs more than a year long show Winnipeggers are willing to fight tickets

“The Manitoba judicial system has been compromised by the tremendous increase in violations that we’ve seen over the last 10 years, and the entire system is stacked against the people receiving them,” he said. “They’re giving out so many unfair tickets that an unprecedented number of people are pleading not guilty.”

(Winnipeg Free Press)

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2017