I'm hoping to get some advise regarding a ticket I received. Here are the details:
- Nov 10/2010 8:43am westbound on the Gardiner east of Kipling; charged with Fail to Signal Lane Change HTA 142 (1)
- Filed disclosure request on July 14/2011
- Initial trial date was Aug 24/2011
- Received continuance due to disclosure request not being fulfilled by trial date; Next trial date is Feb 6/2012
The officer's evidence is:
Failed to signal 3 times - Observed clearly
1st L3 - L2
2nd L1 - L3
3rd L3 - L2
Traffic - Rush hour
Clear view of defendant's vehicle
When the officer pulled me over, she stated that I had signaled two lane changes, but failed to do so on a third lane change. She also stated that a car "had to slam on the brakes to avoid me" but this isn't mentioned in her evidence, nor do I believe such an event happened. According to her, the cruiser was equipped with a video camera, and that I should "cognizant of this fact if I intended to take it to court".
My options as I see them are:
1) File an 11B Charter motion. I need to research this some more, as I'm concerned that I didn't file the disclosure request soon enough, being only 6 weeks less a day before the trial date. Any good guidance here?
2) Explain that I physically activated the turn signal each time, but that it was faulty (it's a 1990 car). I discovered that it wasn't reliable upon further tests and have a mechanics bill for $330 replacement cost. I'm guessing that there could be a fine for operating an unfit motor vehicle in this case.
3) Question the officer's evidence and refute the charges. Even considering that maybe the signal didn't activate, that section of the Gardiner opened up after the Humber bridge, and I don't think any cars were directly affected by my signal possibly not displaying. More research is required here as well, and I have looked at http://simonborys.wordpress.com/2010/05/07/is-signalling-always-required/. Based on this article, this defense may work, as the officer doesn't refer to any affected vehicles in her notes. However, I'm worried that this may be open to significant interpretation and the disposition of the judge that day.
Any advice regarding these options (and any others I haven't mentioned) is appreciated.
If that's the extent of the officer's notes, I think it would be difficult for the Crown to obtain a conviction. As the section clearly states, signalling is only required when another vehicle may be affected. While the fact that it's rush hour would infer there's heavy traffic and other vehicles around, I personally think you would need something more specific about how your actions affected other motorists.
If, as the officer says, another vehicle had to slam on its brakes, you'd think that would be included in their notes. To me that would be very relevant to the charge, and if they tried testifying to that fact you could question why such a relevant detail was left out of their notes. Courts are typically hesitant to accept evidence from officers if it was left out of their notes without good reason. I would also make an additional disclosure request for the video evidence, since the officer claims it exists.
As for the mechanical defect, that could also help your defence. As it's a strict liability offence, you could argue due diligence in that you took reasonable steps to ensure the signals were working and believed they were at the time of the offence. I'm not sure however a repair receipt would be sufficient evidence in itself. You'd need to be able to show the Court exactly what the part does, what went wrong and why you were unaware of the failure. The onus would be on you to satisfactorily explain this to the Court, and I'm not sure the best way to go about doing that.
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