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Ontario Highway Traffic Act

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HTA 144 (9) - Time issue
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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 11:24 am 
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Hello All,
My girlfriend got a ticket this morning for driving straight through an intersection. The sign states that it is illegal between the hours of 7am-9am.

The clock in her car was 9:02am. When she was pulled over, she made a point of the time and mentioned it to the officer. The officer checked his watch and claimed that it was 8:52. Interestingly, he then noticed her watch that said 8:55am.

I noticed a posting before about a similar issue but my question is: Is there some type of "Official Time" that is used for police or do we depend on each police officer's watch/car clock individually?

Let's face it, time is pretty subjective. Not many people's clocks are exactly the same. Since the police officer's watch is most likely not checked against the world clock and the police officer does not check his battery every morning to be sure that the clock is running on time. (This is not as exact as a radar gun, which on occasions need to be calibrated.)

On that note, how do we as citizens know that the police officer is not setting his watch back a couple of minutes to be sure that the ticket will stand in court. It is his word vs. ours. The time was anywhere between it being Legal to questionable to Illegal.

Thanks for the help and any advice.


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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 9:39 pm 
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Not sure about setting official time with respect to how accurate the police have to be. But, it's likely that they'll consider the officer's version of events as more reliable.

There are several ways of fighting it, though. The timing issue is, I would think, more of a "last resort" defence than anything should it go to trial. There are other options you can use. What city did it occur in? And did the sign say just 7AM-9AM or did it also say MON-FRI?


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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 11:33 pm 
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It was in the city of Toronto and it did say Monday-Friday.

I have a feeling that you may suggest the "Bilingual Sign" defense that I read in another post? I dont believe that it was in French, if this was what you were getting at.

What are the other ways of fighting it, I am curious?

I am not hung up on the time thing as a defense as much as just amazed that a Police officer can set his watch back 5 -10 mins and suggest that his/her time is the correct time. In the case of Speeding, if my speedometer reads 60km/h and a police officer claims that I am going 100km/h, he has proof with his radar gun, which has been calibrated. Time on different clocks seems very subjective. There is no way to prove whose TIME is accurate in court, on either side.


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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2009 12:34 am 
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Correct, bilingual defence applies. Take a photograph of the sign with a time-date stamp on it to provide proof that it is not bilingual. (Be forewarned: Whoever takes the photograph has to be present for the court appearance.) Ticketcombat's website also provides a thorough explanation of how and when to use bilingual defence, if you haven't checked out his site already:

http://www.ticketcombat.com/step5/bilingual.php

Also other ticket-fighting strategies, tips and information can be found there. One additional way of fighting the ticket has to do with the fact that such signs require a by-law to be put in place. So, send the ticket in requesting the trial option and make a disclosure request as well. Since your girlfriend allegedly disobeyed the sign, they'll have to include a certified copy of the by-law that put the sign in place in the disclosure package. Don't specifically request it, just ask for an "explanation and clarification" of the charge. They'll likely include the officer's notes, possibly a quote of the HTA 144 (9), but, without the by-law, the disclosure is not complete. If that happens (no by-law included), 15 days in advance of the trial, file a motion for a stay based on improper disclosure. At that point, the proceedings are dead.

If the attempt to trip the Crown up with the disclosure move fails, the officer still may not show. In Toronto, it's about 50-50 these days, although some have reported higher no-show rates. If the officer doesn't show, the Crown may try to re-schedule the trial (usually they just drop it but they may not). Don't let them get away with that one!

All in all, you've got a really good chance of beating the ticket. Best of luck with it.


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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2009 1:56 am 
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Thank you for the great advice.

Just curious if many cases have been won this way, other than the initial one cited before? Have there been many people on this site or others come back successful?

Thanks again!


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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2009 6:32 pm 
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A lot of people were suggested that approach. If they do not come back with report it might mean that they fought the ticket succesfully, else we'd hear about it.

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"The more laws, the less justice" - Marcus Tullius Cicero
"The hardest thing to explain is the obvious"

www.OHTA.ca & www.OntarioHighwayTrafficAct.com


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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 5:03 pm 
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Thanks, If it works, I will be back thanking you all again!


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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 12:11 am 
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Hey all,
The more I read over the Ticket Combat website, the more confident I am with the whole process. Thank you to those who created such an amazing website. Finally the people have the ability to not be intimidated by the system.

That said, I have some questions. My girlfriend is going tomorrow to request a trial.

1) How long until we should request disclosure? I assume wait until the trial date is set, and therefore a prosecutor is assigned to the case?

2) Assuming she attempts to use the Bilingual defense, can she or should she prepare other defenses, ie. the time issue? or will this be seen by the court as grasping at straws?
2b) An idea that I had would be to fight under mens rea. Assuming that she rationally believed that it was after 9am (according to her car clock)? she did not have the knowledge or intent to commit the offense

3) Lastly, Does she need to go through the entire song and dance of a trial and all of the elements of explaining the bilingual issue, or is there some shortcut with supplying the case of R. v Myers as precedent? Should the justice not get this info and automatically toss the case, (unless he/she feels like fighting the appeals court)?

Thanks for the help!


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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 10:13 am 
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mikeyb wrote:
Hey all,
The more I read over the Ticket Combat website, the more confident I am with the whole process. Thank you to those who created such an amazing website. Finally the people have the ability to not be intimidated by the system.

That said, I have some questions. My girlfriend is going tomorrow to request a trial.

1) How long until we should request disclosure? I assume wait until the trial date is set, and therefore a prosecutor is assigned to the case?

2) Assuming she attempts to use the Bilingual defense, can she or should she prepare other defenses, ie. the time issue? or will this be seen by the court as grasping at straws?
2b) An idea that I had would be to fight under mens rea. Assuming that she rationally believed that it was after 9am (according to her car clock)? she did not have the knowledge or intent to commit the offense

3) Lastly, Does she need to go through the entire song and dance of a trial and all of the elements of explaining the bilingual issue, or is there some shortcut with supplying the case of R. v Myers as precedent? Should the justice not get this info and automatically toss the case, (unless he/she feels like fighting the appeals court)?

Thanks for the help!


I don't have an answer but just want to share my experience and my thoughts about the similar offences i got 2,3 years ago.

1. I got ticket in toronto for no left turn 7-9Am Mon-Fri against a by-law, fine $18.

I did not know about this website nor RFD nor ticketcombat site, of course no disclosure request.
I went to court, cop was there, checked in with prosecutor who told me to go sit down. To my surprise, he just dropped the charge after I stated my name in front of JP.

2. Another ticket of the same offence but this one was against HTA, fine $110. I know the stake is higher this time.

Again, without disclosure request or any knowlege of fighting ticket, i went to court, (already recognized the cop in court), checked in with the prosecutor, he then asked me what i wanted to do. I hesitated in replying so he told me to go sit down. (The prosecutor came across as a really nice fellow).

Watching a series of guilty plea for a lesser charge from the back of the court, i felt intimidated. So when the break came i told the prosecutor that i would plead guilty (shame on me, i did not even ask for a deal).
To my surprise when the court resumed he dropped the charge when i was called in front of JP.

Looking back i totally didnot understand why my charged were dropped even the cops were there on both cases. was i lucky?

After reading ticketombat site about bilingual defence for this type of offence, my thought is that the prosecutor did not want to risk opening a can of worms, a revisit of the Myer's case.


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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 5:38 pm 
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My two cents: You can request disclosure ASAP. The Crown has an obligation to disclose the information to your girlfriend. The sooner, the better, in my view. There are some cases where it is better to wait to request disclosure, but in this case I'd recommend requesting it now. One of the objectives with disclosure is actually not to get it, that way you can have the proceedings quashed. We're now recommending that, if you do not get proper disclosure, apply for a stay at least 20 days in advance of the trial.

She can use multiple defences. Bilingual is one of them, and probably should be employed before anything else. Keep the others as a possibility, but the JP would probably view the "time issue" defence with great skepticism.

As for the entire song and defence on the bilingual issue, really most JPs should know it by now. Have a full script and notes written out just in case. She should start off in her defence by indicating that the sign she was alleged to have disobeyed is invalid because it is not bilingual and Toronto is a designated bilingual area. The bilingual sign is required by the French Language Services Act and is not compliant with O.Reg 615 for bilingual signage, therefore the charge should not stand, as indicated by the R v Myers case. That should be enough. If not, then launch the full explanation.


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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2009 9:03 am 
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You might want to send the disclosure request by registered mail. I did this recently and it took a lot off my mind. Now I don't have to worry about if they got it or not. No surprises for me later on.


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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2009 10:35 am 
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thanks all.
Will Do.

So the disclosure is sent to the courthouse on the ticket. Should it be directed to a certain department?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:13 pm 
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Update:
My girlfriend sent in her disclosure request via Fax 3 weeks ago, the Diary date is today. How long should she wait before sending a second request?

Should she send the next request via registered mail for more proof that they received it, or is it better to fax and hope that it gets lost in a pile of papers?

Should this request have some type of identification that it is a second request, or simply send the same request as before.

Assuming that she does not receive anything from this second request, what next?

Thank You,

p.s: there has not been a trial date set yet... Is this normal? How long should we expect to receive a court date?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 3:54 pm 
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I would suggest waiting for the trial date to arrive. Do not hurry the proceedings in any way, keep your options open for 11B. File a 2-nd request with registered mail after you receive the trial date, indicate that this is a 2-nd request, can't hurt you. Trial date should have been set sooner, but this works in her favour anyway.

Although it might be a good idea to call the courthouse and ask about the trial date.

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"The more laws, the less justice" - Marcus Tullius Cicero
"The hardest thing to explain is the obvious"

www.OHTA.ca & www.OntarioHighwayTrafficAct.com


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 4:25 pm 
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Quote:
Although it might be a good idea to call the courthouse and ask about the trial date.


Another Update:
Still no word from the court about a trial date. My girlfriend called the court today to ask if there has been a date set and the notice in the mail may have been lost?

The recording tells her that due to the Toronto CUPE strike, the phone and mail services are unavailable. Anyone who has a court date set, will proceed as normal, I assume suggesting that no NEW court dates will be scheduled? So either hers has not been scheduled due to the strike, or is it possible that it has been scheduled before the strike but due to the strike, they have not sent any info out to her?

They offer an email address to contact but obviously she doesnt want to rush them into scheduling a date.. This strike may allow enough of a backlog to get the tickets tossed..

Any suggestions on what to do...

Thanks!


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