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Ontario Highway Traffic Act

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Start from stopped position - not in saftey
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 1:17 pm 
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I'm not certain i f this is the right sectionto post this. I was ticketed last week and I think it is bogus. Here is what happened:
·Picked up a friend @ 5:45
·Driving down Steeplechase Dr. in Kanata,
·Approached the 4 way stop intersection at Stonehaven Dr. @ 5:50 pm with my turn signal on. All 4 lanes have dividing medians.
·I was turning left.
·The only traffic was 2 cars to my left. The first car to the left was just starting to move forward from his stopped position into the intersection, as I came to a full stop at the stop line.
·Behind him was the Officer’s unmarked police car.
·At the point where the car crossing the intersection was directly in front of my car, I took my foot off my break pedal and started rolling forward
·By this time the Officer’s car had come to a stop to my left
·After the car had cleared my lane into the intersection, I accelerated forward
·Once I was about 5 feet into the intersection I realized the Officer’s car was moving forward, I continued knowing I had the right of way
·At the point my car was directly in front of the Officer’s car, he honked his horn
·I continued and finished my left hand turn as the Officer turned on his red lights and U-turned.
·I turned right into the Eva James Recreation center driveway about 50 feet down the road and stopped
·I rolled down my window and waited
·The Officer approached and told me that I did not stop at the stop sign before entering the intersection
·I told him that I had fully stopped
·He became firm, raised his voice and said he saw that my tire never stopped rolling and that I did not come to a full stop
·I said the I was sorry but I had come to a full stop
·He requested my license, insurance and registration
·The Officer looked them over and said that he was going to issue me a ticket
·He turned and went back to his car
·5 minutes later he returned and explained the ticket and my options and returned my license, insurance and registration and went on his way
·The ticket indicated my offence was “start from stopped position, not in safety” and sighted Section 142 (2) of the Highway Traffic Act.
·He was sufficently agressive that I did not argue why he changed from me failing to stop, to this other charge.

I plan on fighting this in court, and I want to get an opinion to insure my success. My passenger friend has already agreed that he will attend court with me to testify. My friend indicated that he saw the officer, looking downward, presumably looking at his computer screen (I did not see this). I just noticed that the Officer on the ticket clearly indicated that there were no witnesses. Was the Officer lying or can a passenger not be a witness? What effect does the Officer changing his story have on all this?

Advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Dan

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:33 am 
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Location: Stratford, Ontario
Fight the ticket. I've won much harder ones
Write out a list of questions to ask the officer on the stand.
Take your passenger as a witness.
Call your witness when the JP indicates it's your turn to put on a defense.
Be sure to ask questions that will reflect the change in stories.
Summarize your case with a good closing argument (when instructed).
Have Fun!
Good Luck
Book'm (not a lawyer, just a guy who stands up for himself)


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:19 pm 
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Thanks for the reply. I plan on having fun with this.
What are your thoughts on the fact that the officer did not indicate on the ticket that there were witnesses. Will the crown question the difference and not allow my witness to be heard?

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 2:30 pm 
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The ticket probably infers that HE has no witnesses.

The Crown is not in charge of the trial. The Justice of the Peace (JP = Judge) is. The Crown is the attorney who's job it is to convict you. He/she does this by questioning his own witnesses (usually just the cop) under oath during the actual trial. After the Crown is done questioning him, then you get to ask the cop your own questions. When you are done, the Crown may have one or two more questions for the officer, then they will rest their case. Now YOU get to present YOUR case by calling witnesses (your passenger) and asking them questions. When you are done, the Crown gets to have a go at him. Be advised the Crown is a skilled attorney, so make sure your witness does not get caught up in a lie. After both sides have no further questions, the trial moves to Closing Arguments. The Crown goes first and tries to show, by the evidence, why you should be found guilty. Then you get to point out the flaws with the Crown's case, and explain why you should be found not-guilty. Then the JP makes his/her ruling. If you're found guilty. he will ask if you'd like more time to pay (3-4 months). If he rules in your favor, you'll be excused from the court.

I know it looks like the Crown is in charge because of all the pre-trial organization he does, but once the court is in session, he is your adversary. So don't feed him any information before trial. He WILL use it against you.

Don't sweat the "procedures" to much. The JP will recognize that you're new and will guide you through the various stages of the trial.


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And the winner is ...
PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 8:48 am 
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I had requested from the prosecutor’s office my disclosure package. If you are thinking of fighting your ticket, I highly recommend that you get this package which will likely consist of a photocopy of the cop’s notes. Good luck reading it, my cops needs remedial help in this area. It essentially gives you everything that the prosecutor can present to the court (it is after all what the cop’s testimony will be based on)

My package revealed that the cop must have been incredibly distracted. He had cars heading in completely different directions and even contradicted the charge.

So I showed up at the court at the assigned time. I had my witness and was ready to rip the Constable a new one. I had written up my notes, the motions I was to make and the questions I was to ask, as well a closing argument.

I figured there were so many problems with the cop’s notes that there was no way he would show. Wrong – he strode in like he owned the place.

The court went through the preliminary Guilty, Not Guilty or Guilty with an explanation roll call. I pleaded Not Guilty.

After I pleaded, I felt a tap on my shoulder and saw my cop in question asking to speak to me outside the room. I followed and he explained that he would not contest if I were to request the prosecutor to drop my charge down to a municipal offence. It would result in no demerits but I would still have to pay the fine. I smiled and declined the offer and went back to sit in the court room.

Once they finished the roll call, they indicated that they would give people some time so they could speak to the prosecutor. I was immediately asked to come to the front and told that on my case, there was no evidence and my case was dismissed. No explanation was given. The judge even said it was my “lucky day”.

Can someone explain what happened? The cop was there, he obviously could have testified. I assume that the prosecutor or cop thought that the case was a stinker and unwinnable.

I think it is BS that they gave me every opportunity to plead guilty under the circumstance. Welcome to the justice system.

Advice, go to court and be prepared.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:18 am 
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This is all conjecture on my part but here's what might have happened.

Depending on how that court is organized, they may have grouped tickets by officer. So he might have shown up for several cases, not just yours. It's a more efficient and less costly use of their time.

The prosecutor is assigned the case late in the process so he may not have reviewed it thoroughly before trial.

The prosecutor's case logs are reviewed for his conviction stats. There may have been a quick recognition of inconsistencies, an instruction to the cop to get you to plead to a lesser charge and the prosecutor still gets a conviction.

If there were several cases for that officer, there may have been a concern for his credibility on the stand which might jeopardize the other trials.

You are right, the system gives you every opportunity to pay but few opportunities for justice.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 12:52 pm 
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This may be conjecture on my part also, but here's what I think happened:

They knew they had no case, PERIOD. They worked you over right up to the last second. Most folks cave under the pressure. It's a game. You now know the rules ;)

In my last case, the Crown AND the Court Officer had me pinned to the wall outside the courtroom. They even used a psych trick to get me to fold... They looked and talked to me as if I were stupid to deny their offer (very clever). It wasn't until my case was called that I found out my charging officer wasn't even in court, LOL. Gotta' love it.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 5:28 pm 
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The court had batched the cops tickets for that date. I'll likely never know what happened. Thanks for your guesses.

Dan

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