Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors.
Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker.

Ontario Highway Traffic Act

Discuss the Ontario Highway Traffic Act.


Post Your Traffic Ticket, and Get Help!


The Ontario Traffic Ticket Forum!


All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 5 posts ] 
Check It Out
No unread posts New Set Fines Starting Sept 1st, 2015! Read and Learn Here.
  Print view

Court experience - Scaring/threatening you to plead guilty
Author Message
PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 2:46 pm 
Offline
Newbie

Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:59 pm
Posts: 5
I recently was in traffic court for a charged for failure to stop red light on bicycle. I proceeded into the court room, first I spoke with the Clerk and told her I will plead not guilty. Few minutes later, the cop came to chat with me to review evidence. As I spoke with the cop, I stated that when he pulled me over for red light charge, he mentioned he had cameras. So I wanted to see the picture evidence, but then he goes "I actually didn't have a camera", so he basically lied. Then he goes on and basically says that the words on his notes are considered as "evidence" and therefore he was going to win the case if I decide to fight it. The clerk then suddenly goes "if you don't plead guilty, I will increase your fine up to $1000 if you lose the case". Needless to say, I felt threatened and scared by both the cop and the clerk, where I went on to plead guilty for lesser fine ($125 down from $325).

To be honest, it wasn't the fine that I cared about, but to ensure that the report doesn't go on my abstract/MTO since bicycles should not accumulate points and convictions do not send to MTO. So all I wanted was my driver's license removed to ensure my insurance doesn't see my offence.

Has anyone experienced something similar? Do officer's "words" or "notes" constitutes and supersede all evidence? Is it inappropriate that they will further increase the fine if you lose a case? It seems that at the end of the day, they just scare you into pleading guilty? What justice is that? I honestly just wanted a fair trial.


Top
 Profile  
 
Re: Court experience - Scaring/threatening you to plead guil
PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 5:07 pm 
Offline
Sr. Member
User avatar

Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2013 5:46 pm
Posts: 279
That should NOT have happened. You are entitled to a fair trial, free of any intimidation from anyone, especially a police officer or court clerk. They had no business talking to you about your case. Other than letting the court clerk know that you are present for your case, the only other person you should talk to is the prosecutor (to see if a deal can be reached).

Both the court clerk and police officer should have known better than to delve in to your case or discuss its merits. The clerk must remain independent at ALL times; they are not part of the adversarial process. As for the officer, he/she should only speak to you at your request and only to review their 'notes' with you. That's it! They should never discuss the merits of your case. They are strictly there as a witness---nothing more. However, many times they unintentionally overstep that line as part of their human nature. The problem though is that because of their public role as an agent of the Crown, most people will hold their comments to a higher authority than a lay person. It is for this reason that officers must make a conscious effort not to cross that line.

Now, regarding your specific case, you certainly could try to appeal the decision, but it will likely be an up-hill battle not only to prove, but cost-wise. It simply is not worth your while given the deal you got and what you'd end up paying anyway to appeal and/or if later convicted.

As for getting a higher fine in court after trial, you are never suppose to be penalized for exercising your right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Therefore, theoretically, all things equal, you should suffer the same penalty as if you plead guilty as if you are found guilty. However, in traffic offences, the 'set fines' (i.e the fines that most people see on their tickets) are not what the HTA sets out for those offences. Rather, those are pre-set fines that have been set by an order of a judge for anyone not wishing to dispute their offence. That is, if you simply pay the pre-set fine out of court, then the 'set fine' always applies. However, the moment you go in to the court and either dispute or plead guilty, the 'statutory fine' is what the justice must use. In many cases, that is significantly higher than what the 'set fine' would have been. For instance, the set fine for not wearing a seat-belt is $200, but the statutory fine is a minimum of $200 to a maximum of $1,000. So, if you fight a seat belt ticket and lose, you could actually face a $1,000 fine!!! Its a bit confusing to justify how this is permitted due to the notion I mention above about not being penalized for going to trial, but this 'set-fine' regime has been accepted by the courts as being reasonable and not unconstitutional.


Top
 Profile  
 
Re: Court experience - Scaring/threatening you to plead guil
PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 5:43 pm 
Offline
Newbie

Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:59 pm
Posts: 5
Thank you so much for your insightful response HWS. I knew something didn't feel right but since it was my first time in court, I had no idea how to proceed. I probably could've handled myself a lot better if I had been more knowledgeable. I had spent weeks preparing my case and I really thought I had a solid case to present and that if I didn't win, I was willing to lose the 325 fine, but once she said she'll add it to 1000 (which I had no idea it could happen), then it completely shocked me. Thanks for your info and I hope I never have to use it. I'm not going to bother to appeal/fight it. It's not worth the stress and money. But thanks for letting me know that such an option exists.

Can you comment on officer's "notes" being evidence? He had no photo evidence or anything. Do you think he would've proven me guilty simply by saying "I saw him run a red light"?


Top
 Profile  
 
Re: Court experience - Scaring/threatening you to plead guil
PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 5:59 pm 
Offline
Sr. Member
User avatar

Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2013 5:46 pm
Posts: 279
The officer's notes themselves are NOT evidence----its his/her testimony that is evidence. The officer is only able to refer to their notes to 'refresh their memory'. So, if the officer writes something in their notes and doesn't testify to it in court, then its not part of the evidence. Likewise, they can testify to things that are NOT in their notes as well (based upon their recollection just like any other witness could).

As for whether him saying 'I saw him run a red light' is enough to convict, it all comes down to a balance of credibility. The officer's testimony is NOT held to any higher degree than anyone else; they are just a witness like everyone else. So, to put it simply---the officer's testimony is not the end of the discussion. If it were, then there would be no need for a trial. Instead, the JP needs to assess whether they believe that testimony or not (in whole or in part). Most courts will conduct a W(D) analysis to balance witness credibility; that's the legal test to be used. You can read the Supreme Court decision of R.v.W.(D) here. That's why, when an accused 'cross-examines' the officer, they want to make sure they poke holes in the officer's testimony so as to make it as less reliable and/or believe as possible. That way, the JP will hopefully be left with reasonable doubt.


Top
 Profile  
 
Re: Court experience - Scaring/threatening you to plead guil
PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 6:38 pm 
Offline
Newbie

Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:59 pm
Posts: 5
Thanks so much for all the info. After hearing all this - I do feel that I was bullied into pleading guilty which isn't the best feeling but I'll leave it behind me. I wish I had known all this before and presented my case. I would propose stickying this thread so other people can learn from my experience.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 5 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Related topics
 Topics   Author   Replies   Views   Last post 
There are no new unread posts for this topic. how to plead not guilty?

gwt

14

3032

Fri Jun 17, 2011 4:27 pm

gwt View the latest post

There are no new unread posts for this topic. Plead not guilty

nicemom

2

1099

Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:08 pm

nicemom View the latest post

There are no new unread posts for this topic. Plead guilty or trial?

neiu

6

1268

Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:39 pm

Radar Identified View the latest post

There are no new unread posts for this topic. Never,never, NEVER plead guilty to Careless!!!!!!!

Selectrick

4

2173

Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:33 pm

thnlegal View the latest post

There are no new unread posts for this topic. Plead guilty when not. Can I appeal?

Bobert

6

768

Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:37 am

highwaystar View the latest post

There are no new unread posts for this topic. Officer tries to convince defendant to plead guilty outside

jsherk

2

435

Sat Jul 16, 2016 8:18 am

jsherk View the latest post

There are no new unread posts for this topic. Red Light Camera Offence - should I plead guilty?

danceparty

1

6007

Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:08 pm

pvotrainer View the latest post

There are no new unread posts for this topic. Speeding ticket, paralegal plead guilty, filling appeal?

borat15

3

362

Wed Jun 08, 2016 12:12 pm

Stanton View the latest post

There are no new unread posts for this topic. My experience in court.

Gweedz

1

1005

Tue Jul 13, 2010 1:04 pm

Flyview View the latest post

There are no new unread posts for this topic. My experience at Queen St court house

Observer135

9

995

Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:54 am

hwybear View the latest post

There are no new unread posts for this topic. Plead or Request court date? (Worthwhile?)

[ Go to pageGo to page: 1, 2 ]

High-miler

17

6509

Tue May 31, 2016 9:22 pm

JAYJAY View the latest post

There are no new unread posts for this topic. Pleading guilty at court after pretrial

Kurt_

1

528

Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:57 pm

highwaystar View the latest post

 


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Google Adsense [Bot] and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Web Development & Search Engine Optimization
Home | Court Listings | Ontario Traffic Ticket

Copyright 2007 - 2017 © Microtekblue Inc. Web Development & Search Engine Optimization Service. We Support phpBB All Rights Reserved.