and Simon Borys
Sorry about this long, but, in my opinion, necessary post.
I do this for a living -fight traffic tickets, that is. I have done it for over 20 years. I found this forum not to long ago and I thought I could help people by sharing my experience and knowledge. I have a track record of pro bono
representations. Biron is my real last name and you can check the Law Society of Upper Canada at the paralegals directory
http://www1.lsuc.on.ca/LawyerParalegalD ... /index.jsp
I am going to answer your questions and comments the best I can and I hope my answers will be received in good faith and with an open mind.
I stated: "You have a very good chance of prevailing in court", but I also suggested to hire an experience representative.
I never said: "you HAVE to hire a paralegal", I merely suggested it.
... you will not learn here everything you need to know to go for a trial. You better hire an experience representative.
I frankly believe that even a moving violation is a serious matter and that a conviction may have serious consequences, particularly for a young driver. Three demerit points and the offence record will most likely increase his insurance premiums for at least 36 months or so.
In any event, I'll give an idea of why I think he has a good chance of prevailing if properly represented. I can tell that RYOUNVS does not have the necessary experience and skills for the task, and I say this with the outmost respect.
You must be prepared to see the police officer -usually with an extensive court experience- giving very good, credible and reasonable evidence. It will not be easy to impeach his credibility. You have to focus on what most likely the police officer is not prepared and please do not ask me what that is. Go through the facts and review disclosure carefully.
However, If RYOUNVS and his wife provide solid evidence (with no contradictions between them and themselves), it will come to a question of credibility. R. v. W.(D.),  is the leading Supreme Court case respecting credibility, which, if properly argued and followed, will show that the trial should result in a dismissal of the charge.
I hope you don't expect me to go through all of the little intricacies that make an adequate defence for this or any other HTA charge.2.-
I stated: "Now when he asked why you ran that light and you answered 'just stupidity', you prove the offence of fail to stop at an amber light."
I thought that one of the questions was whether the charge could be changed by the JP from red to amber. We know that in this case it may not be lawfully done, but if it could be done, "just stupidity" is not a legal reason or defence to run an amber light.3.-
Maybe I did not understand RYOUNVS' question;
... From what I researched I could have been charged with fail to yield to an amber light which carries the same fine. Is it possible that right in the trial they can change the charge to that? I will be using my wife as a witness, will I have to question her as well?
In law, the charge can not be changed from red light to amber light. Case law shows that they are two different charges and one is not included in the other. Check s. 34 of the POA.
That's why I thought RYOUNVS was worried and I suggested to him not to worry.4.-
Respecting the following:
Simon Borys wrote:
Find a good licensed paralegal and go to trial. [...] Even if convicted, a good paralegal will have put in evidence all necessary elements to give rise to solid grounds for appeal.
Appeal based on what? It's a traffic ticket, not a murder trial
It's not that complicated. If a defendant represents them self they're not more likely to be convicted based on what they say and ask, as you have suggested. A JP will not be swayed by the fact that the defendant is unfamiliar with the process.
What you propose is contrary to my experience. For most people this is a serious matter and sometimes it may get complicated. I believe that the number of people convicted at trial of an offence as charged is much much larger for those unrepresented.
You are correct when you say; "A JP will not be swayed by the fact that the defendant is unfamiliar with the process"
Further in the case of a self-represented defendant, the JP has a duty to maintain the integrity of the court and be sure to preside a fair trial. What a JP can not do is to give a defendant legal advice or save the defence pitfalls
I have seen many, many times defendants convicted on error of law and fact, or even on a matter of jurisdiction, and if the defence has failed to skillfully cover all the angles of the matter, the chances of appealing a wrong conviction diminish tremendously. On the other hand-which is my personal experience- having painfully gone through a proper defence pays at the time of an appeal if necessary. JUST BE PREPARED on Murphy's law
To insist on self representation at trial could very well be setting RYOUNVS for failure and self-defeat.
That is my honest opinion, but it's just an opinion and if you go and represent your-self in a trial, I sincerely hope you prove me wrong.
Respectfully, I have noticed that there are many misconceptions stated in this forum. For instance:
Radar Identified wrote:
Now when he asked why you ran that light and you answered 'just stupidity', you prove the offence of fail to stop at an amber light.
From what I see, it was not a cautioned statement, and therefore cannot be admitted as evidence at trial.
is correct, if at a voir dire
it is shown that the statement was volunteer, not under threat or undue influence or impairment, as well as being aware that you were talking to a police officer, the statement will be, as in the great majority of cases, admitted into evidence and extremely damaging.
In this case your statement may be placed out context by a skillful prosecutor. I am not sure, but did the police asked: "Why did you run an AMBER light?". Is it possible that he asked an open and ambiguous question and later imply that your answer was in reference toa red light?
Self incriminated statements, when admitted into evidence are extremely persuasive towards a conviction.
they have to deal with your case first/or change it at the start.
That is simple not correct.
I believe I have quite a few things going for me. I'm 25 years old, married, child on the way with a clean driving record. I'm responsible and not out to cause trouble.
All of that is absolutely irrelevant and immaterial when determining fault. It may help you at the penalty stage, when and if you are convicted, but not before that.
Radar Identified wrote:
What I've found useful is to go in and observe trials. That gets you a feel of what the process will be. Radar Identified
; that is an EXCELLENT
Radar Identified wrote:
... As for photos from Google Earth... they'd only be admitted on mutual agreement with the Crown. Otherwise, you're looking at the requirements under Guidelines for Submitting Photographs (see the Courts & Procedures section of this forum).
That is not correct. The admissibility of exhibits and other evidence, i.e. affidavits, government documents, financial and accounting statements, etc. is determined under the Evidence Act (Ontario) and the Canada Evidence Act. It does not depend on the prosecutor's consent, although it is much easier when the prosecutor does not oppose to it.
The basic premise for the admissibility of evidence is relevancy and whether the proposed evidence is material to the charge or not.
I have entered Google maps and photos taken by the defendant many times in trials with excellent results.
The other thing I'm concerned with is that on the day that we go to trial my wife will be 6 1/2 months pregnant. [...] Is there something that I can say before the cross examination to the JP asking them to be calm and easy on her and not try to rattle her, as I know most crown's do?
Yes; it is highly advisable to remind the court and the prosecutor of her state. It will not hurt you, but instead, it may help you and your wife tremendously.
Simon Borys wrote:
Don't worry about what type of questions you can and can't ask. The JP will keep you on track. In my experience they're usually good about it because they know you're not familiar with the rules.
Respectfully, I would never give this kind of advice to anyone
. That "The JP will keep you on track
" simply means he/she will explain the rules and prevent you from asking improper questions and/or statements, but do not expect him or her to take you by the hand and give you legal advice. In this regard, the JP's duty is simply to maintain the integrity of the court and be sure you get a fair trial, nothing else.
In fact, you should learn as much as you can about what kind of questions you should ask. Similarly and as importantly, prepare carefully what you and your wife will state.
Best of luck