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Driving at high speed - was Careless charge appropriate?
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:40 am 
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Hello all. I have lurked about this forum but have never actually registered. I am impressed by the expertise on here.

Here is the scenario:

Two vehicles, A and B are heard (due to loud exhausts) driving at high speed. The traffic officer starts to pursue them, eventually getting close enough to get "blips" of speed readings (quite high!) but there was no tracking history.

They were not racing, just driving fast on an isolated road where there was NO OTHER TRAFFIC in either direction. It is a road in good condition and the weather was clear with dry roads. One was following the other.

The traffic officer freaks out and thinks that there are equipment violations, but there are none. The cars were very mechanically fit.

So because there was no way of knowing which car was traveling how fast, and there was no tracking history, speeding or stunting was not charged.

So out of obvious frustration, a CARELESS DRIVING charge was laid against the one driver only.

I am looking for opinions and case law to PROVIDE A VALID AND EFFECTIVE DEFENSE for the defendant.

Thanks guys, in advance!


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:01 am 
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Speed itself may constitute careless driving, but on a lonely, quiet, isolated road with no way of verifying speed... tough call... Some relevant information:

The courts have ruled that this means that careless driving is where someone's conduct clearly falls below that expected of a reasonable and prudent driver. (R. v. Martinez, 1996) Driving conditions are factored into consideration. This was the precedent set back in 1953 by R. v. Beauchamp, where "the Ontario Court of Appeal stated the standard for careless driving is a constantly shifting one which depends on the road, visibility, weather and traffic conditions as well as other conditions which an ordinary driver would take into consideration." (Justice of the Peace M.A. Cuthbertson, in R. v. Richards, 2009, paragraph 16.)

And of course we have Justice Fairgrieve's comments in the R. v. Erredia case: To get a conviction for careless driving "the driving must be of such a nature that it amounts to a breach of one's duty to the public and is deserving of punishment... A driver is not held to a standard of perfection, and a mere error of judgment is not necessarily sufficient to establish the offence... Careless driving, generally speaking, requires proof of a departure from the standard of care that a reasonably prudent driver would have exercised in the circumstances, and normally involves, I would think, conduct that includes other less serious Highway Traffic Act infractions."

So if you can construct a defence that shows the defendant met those guidelines, that should help. Here's an appeal from 2005 where the defendant was acquitted of careless driving after going 140 km/h in fog on Highway 400. :shock: R. v. Budisantoso

A bit long-winded but I hope it provides a starting point...

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:49 am 
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Thanks Radar ID'd
I will research the cases you cited.
I want to make sure that the defendant can put up an intelligent defense, and with the direction you have led me in, I think it will go that way.
I will post the results!


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