Had my scheduled trial date today in Mississauga for 1:30 PM court. Had already received my disclosure and was going on the chance the officer would not appear. The court listing showed 52 charges to be heard, with about 40 defendants all in the same court for 1:30. The court opened at 1:15pm and all those having matters before the court were asked to present themselves to the Crown. As we all lined up and were asked individually how we wanted to proceed today, the line up went very slowly till 1:45, at which time we were advised court would start and at the break, anyone not having chance to advise would be allowed at that time. The crown asked first your intention as to how to proceed, and she seemed to know of officers not attending, so she willingly stated she would amend/reduce the charge to XXX if you agreed to plead guilty. Many agreed this option. Of the 20 or so who had time to meet, about 15 were called up and agreed to plead to the reduced charge and their cases were dealt with speedily. The remaining 5 were seeking adjournment for another date, 4 successful for various reason and one rejected, but told to speak with the Crown during break for a resolution. At 2:15 the court took a recess and the balance of us were called up to asked how we would like to proceed. Many again took the reduced plea option. I was 99% positive that the officer for my case was present, BUT just in case I was wrong when asked how I wanted to proceed, I said I wanted to speak with the officer first to decipher his had writing on one area of my disclosure first. The Crown stated the officer was present and he came up to the podium and clarified his Police Code as he called it for me. I knew at that time I was done, but the Crown also suggested to me if I want to go to trial she will ask that the charge be amended to the speed of which I was originally clocked at (75 in a 50, reduced to 65 in a 50). I agreed to plead guilty to the certificate as they called them, and was told to pay at the cashiers desk the amount on the certificate ($52.50 all in). At 2:45 court resumed and all cases where a reduced plea was offered were called and dealt with. Then the requests for adjournments were called and all requests were granted except one where the person representing the defendant said she was at work and couldn't attend. No reason was provided as to why she had to be at work for any type of emergency or must attend work, so the Crown again offered a reduced plea and was accepted. FINALLY the cases where the officer was not present were called and certificates withdrawn, but you had to be there to get such, as if not you were convicted in absentia. Finally at 3:15 we get to the first trial, to which person was charged with driving on the HOV lane with only one person in the car. He started to plead his case, when asked how he wanted to proceed, to her worship and was stopped as the trial had not been started. Again the Crown suggested she had offered a reduced plea, but the individual refused, he continued to explain he was cut off and only in the lane for 5 seconds. Her worship suggested he and the Crown go outside the court and try to reach a resolve. I could hear him arguing his defense and again the Crown suggested she would conduct a trial if he so wanted, but there would no reduction in fine or points if he was convicted, instead she offered a charge of drive on paved shoulder, 2 points and $110 fine. He came back into the court and after again starting to plead his defense, and then suddenly when cautioned by her worship that the trail had not begun and she was getting angry, he agreed to plead to the reduced offering. Well now it is 3:30 and there is ONE trail to be held, all others have left the court room that was initially packed, and it is being conducted by a paralegal. Officer testifies he is in the right hand lane making a left turn, ( and I think WTF did he just say), and he witnessed a car pass on his left on the other side of the median, with driver window down and a hand held device in the drivers right hand. Officer testifies he is in the left hand turn lane and had an unobstructed view as the drivers window was down on the offenders vehicle. Crown picks up on this and asks officer to clarify his position and the officer changes his testimony to state he is in the left hand turn lane about to make a left hand turn, and is travelling at about 20 KM per hour as he enters the lane. The defendants vehicle is travelling in the opposite direction at an unknown speed. The paralegal questions how long the officer observed the alleged hand held devise, and the officer does not recall. Easy to be an arm chair quarterback, but I would have questioned further as to how the officer could observe such when he was going 20 KM an hour and the defendant may have been at 50 KM going in the opposite direction with the alleged hand held in his RIGHT hand, so the officer could see such at 70 KM speed and on the opposite hand that was closest to the officer, but I degrees. Any the grand final occurs when the officer pulled over the defendant and he ADMITS he was on the phone as a buddy's car had broken down on the road and he was assisting in getting help for him. NEVER admit to police your crime as it will be held against you. If you are asked "do you know why I pulled you over?", even if you know always suggest it don't confirm it "not really but I presume speeding?" It is not an admission of guilt and usually officers don't make notes of this as you aren't being hostile or aggressive or stating "I'll see you in court", it is just another ticket of non description being issued and the officer will most likely not remember you. Anyhow the result was a guilty conviction, and fine. I later heard the paralegal tell her client that it won't affect his insurance rates. I'm not so sure about that and it now cost him the minimum fine of $400 plus probably another $300 for her.
Congratualtions on holding out until figuring out if the officer was there or not!
For all the times I have been to court, I have never seen a paralegal or lawyer go to trial (always a lonely trial with only me left).
One of the best ways to learn how to (or how not to) run a trial is by watching a trial like you did.
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