Victory! Charges Withdrawn

Moose
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Victory! Charges Withdrawn

by: Moose on
Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:26 pm

Post is a little long so I’m going to try to stick to things I didn’t really see covered previously on the site.

Here is the setup,
I was charged with 3 offences in North Toronto;

1. Unsafe Lane Change contrary to the Highway Traffic Act – Section 154(1) (A)
2. Drive Non Designated Vehicle in Reserved Lane contrary to Toronto Bylaw – 132-93 (3)(a)
3. Fail to Sign Permit in Ink contrary to Ontario Regulation 628 under the HTA

Filed request for trial 48 hours after PONs issued.
Followed the disclosure processes recommended by Ticket Combat and on this site. Disclosure was requested 3 times several months apart the first one being before the Notice of Trial was issued. I also sent in the letter to the prosecutor requesting speedy trial etc. recommended on Ticket Combat. Since it took 11 months to come to trial (Markham Road Toronto) I filed an 11b 60 days in advance. It turned out that I needed all of the above to prevail. The reason I filed the 11b so early was I had read several cases where an early filing limited the prosecutor’s ability to argue that they didn’t have time to read the submission. I wanted this done in one sitting.

Preparation and Tactics

I filed the disclosure requests in person so as to get the stamp. They pressed me very hard at the front counter for my phone number and email address. I didn’t provide them. While I was at the courthouse I sat in on the afternoon cases and watched several trials. I think this was a critical step.
I decided to look into the officer and checked out the Ontario Civilian Police Commission website at http://www.ocpc.ca and surprisingly it turned out that the information discovered there could have been very helpful in trial. Let’s leave it at that.
I found plenty of case law on canlii.org that could have filled a truck. I also filed an FOI request with the Toronto Police for some procedural items. No response.
No disclosure was ever received.

Major Process Variances and Court

Here are some things that happened along the way you might want to be ready for.

1. Despite everything I’ve seen, the front counter staff at Markham Road refused to take my oath for the notice of application on the 11b. I think my ears are still smoking. I had to think quick and walked over to OTT Legal across the street. They have a Notary there who took care of things for me at a great price. Many thanks to OTT and Red Seal Notary for bailing me out and saving me a ton of time.

2. I asked for and received the court room docket for my trial date and time a couple of months before trial. I wanted to see how many defendants there were going to be and tried to calculate if they were badly overbooked which would likely have resulted in a postponement. Turned out there were 26 defendants, 19 with multiple charges. It took about an hour before they got to me and there were at least 3 more defendants remaining.

3. The process in the court room was not what I expected or had seen previously. The prosecutor called everyone in about 10 minutes prior to the start of the official proceedings, had everyone sit down, stood at the front and made a whole speech which sounded like it was built to intimidate those in attendance and handed out the green sheets to everyone explaining how to pay your fines once you plead guilty. My name was called very early and when I told the JP I had an 11b motion filed, he had a dialogue with the prosecutor about how he doesn’t grant these unless at least 12 months had elapsed, quoted some case law then looked over at me and said he was putting the matter down and to have a seat in the courtroom. Huh?

4. I was recalled much later and the prosecutor started arguing against my 11b submission using a lot of legal jargon. I really didn’t care because I had several solid cases in support of my submission (Andrade the most recent). After about a minute I interrupted the prosecutor and told the court that I never received disclosure knowing that any adjournment would put me so far into 11b territory it would have been a simple formality. Surprisingly the prosecutor asked for a moment and tried to persuade me that we were going to trial “TODAY” because he was going to supply me the officer’s notes and I should plead guilty to the by-law charge and he would drop the other two. My response was “No prior disclosure = No trial today”. When the procedures resumed the JP asked the prosecutor why I wasn’t supplied disclosure before trial. Answer was music to my ears, charges withdrawn.

Lessons Learned

Don’t argue with the officer on the side of the road. I didn’t believe I committed the by-law offence and when I challenged him about it he got visibly upset and returned with the 3 tickets. Next time I’ll keep the dialogue to an absolute minimum.
Be prepared for frustration when filing anything and whatever you do don’t argue with the front counter staff.
Stand your ground when you know you are right in the court room. I knew that disclosure is guaranteed and must be supplied when requested. My risk profile without any disclosure at all in my hands was very low. Despite all the intimidation tactics they threw at me (the doubt started to creep in ) I didn’t waver. You shouldn’t either if you are 100% sure.

I’d like to thank Stanton, Radar Identified, Hwybear and Simon Borys for their fantastic posts without which would have made this whole thing much more difficult and of course Ticket Combat. Nice.


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Radar Identified
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by: Radar Identified on
Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:40 am

Congratulations on the win! Good job.
* The above is NOT legal advice. By acting on anything I have said, you assume responsibility for any outcome and consequences. *
http://www.OntarioTicket.com OR http://www.OHTA.ca




mnstrcck
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by: mnstrcck on
Thu Apr 26, 2012 8:36 pm

Congratulations! It's a great feeling.

For those who will be reading this in the coming months, disclosure is a fundamental part of the judicial process. It is a right guaranteed by the Charter, and heavily supported by countless case law. You should never give in to pressure in a situation such as this [where disclosure requests were made well in advance and went unanswered].


Halsy
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by: Halsy on
Tue May 22, 2012 7:30 pm

Congratulations and excellent post, sir! I just wanted to chime in with my 2 bits about what you said about not challenging cops. It''s proabably the best advice you can give. I found early on that if you want to be a problem to the cops then they're going to be a problem for you and will go out of their way to show up in court to make sure you pay. Whereas if you just smile, be polite and thank them, the chances are much less they'll be in court or at least be disposed to helping you out if they are there.


Bollockchops30
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by: Bollockchops30 on
Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:17 pm

Good work….you guys seem well in the know, and willing to help a poor slob.
I read about disclosure request (S) here.
I was charged with No Full Stop, and requested disclosure of notes and video/audio evidence.
I received photocopy of officer’s written notes, but they are pretty unintelligible to me. (Officer uses a lot of short form, and much of the writing is illegible etc.)
I have not received the Video/Audio evidence.
How many times are you expected to ask, and if I do get them, how far in advance of trial would a judge feel is reasonable time to prepare?
My trial date is December 2, 2013


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