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Disobeying Stop Sign, just got the disclosure package
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 5:19 pm 
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I was ticketed for 'disobeying a stop sign' in York Region (Ontario) in November 2013, requested a trial date and received one scheduled for August 2014. I just picked up my disclosure package today after filing 3 disclosure requests between November and July, and I've been wracking my brain trying to come up with a defense.

I've scrutinized the traffic ticket and haven't caught any mistakes (HTA 136(1)(a), fine is listed as $85, $110 total payable). Given the time frame, I don't think I can request a stay in court due to 'unreasonable delay' (trial date and offense date less than 10 months apart, trial date is the middle of August, so they made my disclosure package available just around a month ahead of the trial).

The 'evidence' is just the officer's notes:

"On [date] the suspect vehicle [license plate, make and model] was travelling EB [location of intersection]. The vehicle slowed down and didn't stop. The driver was issued a Stop sign violation."

The officer's notes also notes that the weather was 'clear' (it was around 1:30 pm).

It's a 3-way intersection, and I know the area well. In fact, I also know that this is a 'hot spot' for handing out these sort of tickets (I've seen drivers ticketed at this precise intersecton before), so I always take precautions while driving through that intersection. However, this just boils down to 'my word' versus the officer's word, and I see no reason why the JOP would take my word over the officer's. Since I also know that intersection well, I know there isn't anything that I can indicate as a clear 'obstruction' to the officer's observation of the intersection (which is why this is one of the 'hot spots' for them to hang out and hand out these sort of tickets). So I am at a loss as to what I can argue in my defense.

The only thing I can think of is the 'involuntary defense', by arguing that the road was slightly wet due to melted snow (November) and my car may have slid across the stop sign a bit when coming to a full stop. Unfortunately, I (stupidly) did not take any photographs on that day. Also, the vehicle's brake rotor is rusted and need to be replaced (but we are not repairing it since we are buying a new vehicle this year, and replacing the brake rotor will cost close to $1000, so will simply trade in the old vehicle).

Any suggestions and insights?


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Re: Disobeying Stop Sign, just got the disclosure package
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 5:13 pm 
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Just to be clear, you're saying that you did fully stop, but beyond the stop line, correct?

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Re: Disobeying Stop Sign, just got the disclosure package
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 5:50 pm 
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I did come to a complete stop, but I am not sure if it was beyond the stop line or not. There isn't much details in the officer's notes to go on. I think the officer may have observed my car slide forward due to the compounded factors, after coming to a complete stop, and interpreted that as 'slow down but not stop.'


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Re: Disobeying Stop Sign, just got the disclosure package
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 12:04 am 
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http://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/how-do- ... hedule-43/

Interestingly there are two different charges under HTA S.136 (1) (a): Disobey stop sign — stop wrong place & fail to stop; I'm not sure if this has any relevance.

Disobeying a stop sign is an absolute liability offense, which means the courts are only interested in whether you came to a complete stop at the appropriate location. You're not afforded a due diligence defence, so brake failure, weather conditions and stopping in the wrong place will not help you... you will still be found guilty.

Knowingly operating a vehicle with poor brakes is dangerous, and the courts will not entertain your justification whatsoever.

http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statut ... .htm#BK210
Quote:
Stop at through highway

136. (1) Every driver or street car operator approaching a stop sign at an intersection,
(a) shall stop his or her vehicle or street car at a marked stop line or, if none, then immediately before entering the nearest crosswalk or, if none, then immediately before entering the intersection; and
It's important that you read subsection (a) carefully, to see which stopping location is appropriate for your stop-sign.

This is a decision w.r.t. stop signs & black ice in Ontario: R. v. Stokes, 2009 ONCJ 8 (CanLII): http://canlii.ca/t/2289q

You talked about your word vs the officers. If you look at it objectively, who is in the best position to see your wheels come to a complete stop? A driver who's inside the vehicle? Can the driver see the wheels stop spinning? Or... an officer who's doing stop-sign enforcement looking at the wheels to see if they came to a complete stop?

I personally come to a complete stop with my front bumper behind the stop line, whether it's for stop signs or red lights. I've experienced enforcement for stop signs and red-light right turns, and officers were very specific about where I had to stop. I was also lucky to get away with warnings.


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Re: Disobeying Stop Sign, just got the disclosure package
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:27 pm 
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Thank you iFly55.

There's no doubt my 'defense' is horribly weak. If someone sliding on 'black ice' is convicted of the same offense I am accused of, my defense here is just not going to hold up. I do have something I need clarification on though. TicketCombat mentioned that in some circumstances, it may be possible to persuade the court to treat an offense as 'strict liability' even when it is more commonly treated as an 'absolute liability' offense. The article cited R. v. Locke, 2007 and R. v. Kanda to show how this was done, thus allowing the defendant to mount a 'due diligence defense.'

But in those two cases, even though the defendant managed to persuade the court to establish the offense as 'strict liability' rather than 'absolute liability', they were never-the-less convicted of the offense. There also isn't much details about what 'standards' were deployed by the appeal judge in overturning the trial judge's determination that these offenses were 'absolute liability.'

How would one go about persuading the court that a offense they are accused of, which is typically treated as an 'absolute liability' offense, should be treated as a 'strict liability' offense (and thereby be eligible to mount a 'due diligence defense')?

I imagine that even if I was able to mount a 'due diligence defense' (which I can't unless I can convince the court that my stop sign violation should be treated as 'strict liability' rather than 'absolute liability'), I would still have to show that I took all reasonable precautions to avoid the factors that contributed to the offense, including replacing the rusted brake rotor (unless I was on my to the mechanic to do that--which I was not), so it's probably not going to help me in any event. But I am asking more out of curiosity and a personal interest.


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