Case law regarding a justice or prosecutor changing a charge

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Mr. Peabody
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Case law regarding a justice or prosecutor changing a charge

Unread post by Mr. Peabody on

Does anyone know the specific law, statute, Charter right to refer to when a prosecutor or justice attempts to change the charge on a ticket after a trial has begun? I assume I'd object immediately (without interrupting anyone, of course) but what would be the specific legal basis of my objection?


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Simon Borys
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Unread post by Simon Borys on

I'm not sure if you question is purely academic or not, but if you are concerned that this might happen, don't be. It doesn't work that way. If you are being tried on a specific charge you can suddenly start to be tried on a different charge when you're already in the trial. If they want they can drop a charge altogether and lay a new charge against you, or just add a new charge.
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Mr. Peabody
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Unread post by Mr. Peabody on

Thanks for responding Simon.
Actually it's more than academic. I received a ticket (red light) where the officer said I should have been able to stop my car in 10 to 15' (from 50 km/h) when the light went from green to amber. Since that's impossible, the only way they could get a conviction would be to change the charge on the ticket. Hence my query.
Anecdotally: You might be surprised with what goes on in Traffic Court in some "small town" Ontario courtrooms. In our locale there is a JP who allows officers to rewrite tickets right in court during trial. Not always, but often enough that the local attorneys all know about it. Lets face it most lay people defending a ticket don't know whether to fart or wind their watches when it comes to something like this.
Common sense is not a defense.


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Simon Borys
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Unread post by Simon Borys on

I am kind of surprised to hear that since a conviction under a rewritten ticket like that would be quashed with prejudice on appeal. But you are correct, most people who are getting the ticket have no idea what is going on. This is why I'm a big fan of educating people and why I take the time to share my knowledge and experience on this forum, because justice suffers when people aren't educated about the law and their rights.
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Unread post by Biron on

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Hi Mr. Peabody:
Mr. Peabody wrote:...a JP who allows officers to rewrite tickets right in court during trial.
Simon Borys wrote:...a conviction under a rewritten ticket like that would be quashed with prejudice on appeal.
The key words are 'rewrite tickets'. If it is an amendment under s. 34 of the HTA, it can lawfully done under certain circumstances. In the case of an amber/red light situation, the certificate can not be lawfully amended.

If the officer writes a new ticket, the certificate should be quashed on appeal as Simon says. Although, I think that with or without prejudice does not apply because the decision of the appellate court is final and reviewable by a higher court. The Crown can not later on re-initiate proceedings for the same offence without a successful apeal.


BTW Mr. Peabody, I was wondering if you could provide us with the four-digit number located on top-left of your ticket. It's called Icon Location Number, which identifies the provincial offences court.

Personally, I am interested in comparing procedural differences between jurisdictions.

Cheers.
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Unread post by Mr. Peabody on

Thanks Biron, for your insights.
We live in too small a town to give out that info. I do think that people who live in larger centres have no idea what goes on in these smaller areas.
I posted my "results" in the post titled "officer's narrative style in disclosure".
If you feel inclined, tell me what you think.


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Radar Identified
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Unread post by Radar Identified on

Simon Borys wrote:This is why I'm a big fan of educating people and why I take the time to share my knowledge and experience on this forum, because justice suffers when people aren't educated about the law and their rights.
Education is the pillar of democracy. Without it, the system is doomed to fail.
* The above is NOT legal advice. By acting on anything I have said, you assume responsibility for any outcome and consequences. *
http://www.OntarioTicket.com OR http://www.OHTA.ca


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Simon Borys
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Unread post by Simon Borys on

Well said!




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