New Case Law: Lawful to momentarily hold a cell phone

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Stanton
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New Case Law: Lawful to momentarily hold a cell phone

Unread post by Stanton on

Some very recent case law regarding cell phones.

The short synopsis is that briefly holding your cell phone is lawful. The accused in this matter was observed with her phone in her hand at a red light. She claimed to have simply just picked it up off the floor.

From the decision:
Given the objective is to promote road safety by banning resort to and the use of such devices while operating a motor vehicle, it is not necessary to prohibit a driver from merely touching a cell phone, for example, just to hand it to a passenger or to move it within the car. The short mental distraction and physical interference with the ability to drive caused by such acts are not intended to be caught by the provision. There must be some sustained physical holding of the device in order to meet the definition.
The case is R v. KAZEMI - Link: http://www.canlii.org/eliisa/highlight. ... cj383.html

I do have issue with the fact that the officer observed the accused staring down at an open flip phone, which to me indicates use versus simply picking it up off the floor, but the ruling sill applies regardless.


mnstrcck
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Unread post by mnstrcck on

Thanks Stanton, I was just about to post this.

I'm happy that the distinction has been made, as in some personal cases I have passed my cellphone to my passenger to answer.


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Decatur
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Unread post by Decatur on

I see that this case is from the Ontario Court of Justice and not from the Ontario Court of Appeal. Is this a binding decision throughout Ontario at the initial trial level usually heard by a Justice of the Peace?


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Radar Identified
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Unread post by Radar Identified on

This one is binding throughout the province. It was heard by a Superior Court Justice. The next step would be the Ontario Court of Appeal... although I think the province would be hard-pressed to prove that "briefly holding" a phone is an inherently dangerous activity. Texting, maknig a call, etc., would certainly count as dangerous but "briefly holding" probably wouldn't go anywhere.
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Decatur
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Unread post by Decatur on

This is where i'm confused. Certain media outlets have said that this is binding in the province but the case was not heard by a Superior Court Justice. It was heard by The Honourable Justice Shaun S. Nakatsuru of the Ontario Court of Justice.


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Unread post by Radar Identified on

Heard through another source that it was Superior Court... but that's obviously incorrect.

Looks like you were right: If it was the Ontario Court of Justice then the decision is NOT binding.
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Simon Borys
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Unread post by Simon Borys on

This is an OCJ case, however it is an appellate level case - being an appear of the decision of a Justice of the Peace. This case should be binding on Justices of the Peace who operate in traffic court's in the entire province. It is only persuasive on other courts of the same level - those being judge's of the OCJ hearing other POA appeals on this issue.




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