Here's my story:
I received a ticket in Sept. 09 for supposedly not making a complete stop. No big deal, but didn't want the conviction on my clean record, so decided to go to court. Got the letter with the court date on April 8th, and the scheduled date was April 30th. Within three business days I filed a request for disclosure in person at the prosecutor's office at the court house, and was told by the receiving clerk that I wouldn't receive anything in time for the trial due to the late request. When I informed her that I had just received the court date notification she said that was something to take up with the prosecutor on the day. Fine.
So, I didn't receive any response to my requst for disclosure and I showed up for court on the 30th. The prosecutor's associate attempted to get me to plead guilty for reduced fine and I declined. I waited for something like 2.5 hrs as they took all of the cases that were pleading guilty first, and were going to do the two actual trials at the end of the session. At the recess, the prosecutor called all remaining people in the court to come up and check in with her, which I did, pointing myself out on her sheet. I expected to be either the last or second last case of the session.
After court resumed and a few other cases were completed the prosector told the clerk and the JP that they were only going to procede with cases... (and then she gave a couple of line numbers), and said everyone else could go. Since I didn't know my line number I stuck around. They did one more case I believe and then were calling another to go ahead. There were only about four or five people left in the room by that point, and she looked at me and told me that I could go. Don't remember the terminology (you can be excused/dismissed etc.), but I made eye contact and indicated "me?", and she reconfirmed that I should leave.
Being dumb aparently, I assumed that as in a couple of previous cases the cop didn't have enough evedence to procede. That coupled with the lack of response to my request for disclosure and I figured she just didn't want the hassle... so I followed her instructions and left.
So, today I pick up my mail and I find a conviction notice. Apparently she dismissed me and then had me convicted in my absence even though I had remained until almost the very end of the session. There's a word for that... several really, but I decline to include them in this post.
I'm not that concerned about the $120 fine, although the insurance increase has the potential to cause some pain. More importantly I'm livid because I believe I was purposely deceived by the prosecutor. If at all possible I'd like to do something about this... preferably something that at least includes the prosecutor getting dressed down by the JP in front of the court... likely just wishful thinking.
At a minimum I'm going to appeal, but is there any other avenue I have to report the prosecutor or anything?
Initially I was just representing myself, but now I'm willing to reconsider. I'm not really inclined to go to the traffic ticket specialists as I understand that they generally just tend to plead down to a lesser charge (as I witnessed that day in court). In this case it's more of a procedural angle. Any thoughts on what my next steps should be?
Are you sure they weren't calling your number and she was trying to get you to go up, not leave?
Well, the only real evidence that you have that you were there is the docket list and the fact that hopefully the prosecutor checked you off as being there. When you go for your appeal you'll have to specify that you were there and the prosecutor expressed that certain people should leave, therefore in confusion you accidentally left.
That's all I can suggest though.
My case wasn't the one called at the time. I was sitting in the court for 2+ hours and was pretty familiar with the process by then.
I may get some professional advice on this one, but I would still value any input anybody can offer.
Section 11 of the Provincial Offences Act covers reopenings. It sets out 2 conditions under which a conviction can be reopened. 1) The the defendant, through no fault of their own was unable to appear for a hearing and 2) A document relating to the offence was not delivered.
I suppose I could argue that having the prosecutor tell me to leave was beyond my control. I'd rather do that than appeal as then it shouldn't count against me getting a trial in a reasonable amount of time. I assume that if I appeal the timer kind of starts over again, and won't be counted from the offence date.
http://www.OHTA.ca OR http://www.OntarioTrafficAct.com
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