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Charged Based on a Witness Calling OPP
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:52 am 
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Hi guys, I'm new here, but am pissed off!

Just got pulled over on my way into work today by an OPP officer saying that witnesses had called reporting that I was watching TV in my car. I do not have a TV In my car. The Officer agreed with me that I do not have a TV in my car.

I had a Samsung Galaxy on my visor in GPS mode ( I also use this phone on speakerphone to take calls)
Was not touching or manipulating the device in anyway.

He wrote me up a ticket for a HTA 78.1(2) "using a handheld entertainment device" offence, based on what the witness told him. He admitted to me before handing over the ticket that he himself did not see me using any device.

The fine on the ticket is $155

I admit that the device was turned on in GPS mode, but in no way was I "using" the device

I have 2 questions:

1 - Can I really be issued a ticket based on what a witness says to the cop
2- If I fight this, does the witness have to show up, then it becomes my word against theirs?

What should I do?


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Re: Charged Based on a Witness Calling OPP
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:53 am 
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1. You can be charged based on witness information provided to police. In this case the officer would provide to the court information relating to your identity as confirmed by the traffic stop. The civilian complaint would provide the court with his witness evidence as to a person matching your description driving a vehicle with your license plate on a highway while watching what appeared to be a tv. The two components are generally required so long as the officer doesn't actually witness you doing the same thing.

2. Whether or not the witness is required depends on what the officer observed and/or any conversation you had with him at the roadside.

Depending on the jurisdiction (and the JP you wind up with at trial) this is an easy acquittal for you or an easy conviction for the prosecutor. Individual JP's are really leary about these charges.


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Re: Charged Based on a Witness Calling OPP
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:12 pm 
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Basically, the officer was a nice enough guys, and said that he has to do what he was doing based on the complaint.

He said that he would encourage me to go and fight it, (if he were in my shoes he would do the same)

I just wonder if its that easy to call the cops on someone and have them fined, and have to deal with a day in court, if there are any ramifications for the complainant if this gets thrown out.

Essentially wasting my time, the officers time, and the courts time.

If its really that easy than shouldn't we all just call the cops whenever someone one the road pisses us off?


Does this "complainant" get summoned to court as well if I opt for a trial?


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Re: Charged Based on a Witness Calling OPP
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:21 pm 
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Location: Toronto
mjrobby wrote:
I just wonder if its that easy to call the cops on someone and have them fined, and have to deal with a day in court, if there are any ramifications for the complainant if this gets thrown out.


Unfortunately... yes. As for the complainant, absolutely nothing, in most cases. There might be some rare instances where the police would go back and charge the complainant with Mischief, but for an HTA charge like this, it's unlikely.

mjrobby wrote:
Does this "complainant" get summoned to court as well if I opt for a trial?


Sure does, unless, as Brian Smith said, the officer observed something. But, from the sounds of it, no witness, no case.

Put in a disclosure request. You'll want the officer's notes and also ask for any other relevant evidence that the Prosecutor intends to use at trial. There probably won't be much beyond the officer's notes. See what the notes say and go from there.

_________________
* 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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Re: Charged Based on a Witness Calling OPP
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:52 am 
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Hey guys, one other thing I have noticed on the ticket is that the officer did not check off the witness box.

Does this matter?
I have since gone to the courthouse and requested the trial option, and am getting prepared to request disclosure.

Even the cop told me that he is writing the ticket based on a witness complaint. Without this box checked on the ticket, do you think this is even valid?


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Re: Charged Based on a Witness Calling OPP
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:04 pm 
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That's not likely to be a fatal error. That is more for court administration purposes.

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NOTHING I SAY ON HERE IS LEGAL ADVICE.


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