My observations at traffic court in Markham

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My observations at traffic court in Markham

by: Flyview on
Mon Oct 18, 2010 8:48 pm

I went in to just watch some cases, hoping to see someone actually fight a charge (plead not guilty).


1) A deal is offered to everyone. People with multiple charges had most/some dropped if they agreed to plead guilty to one. I heard up to 88 in a 60 being dropped to 75 in a 60 (no points, haha they get everyone on "no points" and everyone is tragically, quite happy to take it!)

2) All the paralegals in one court room (watched two) had their charges dropped as soon as they stepped up and said their name. Prosecutor: "No prospect of conviction, please withdraw" or "Insufficient evidence for a conviction, charge withdrawn" This was shocking. This happened at least 7 times.

3) Some paralegals mentioned no disclosure, or that they had filed a notice of constitutional question for 13+ months. Prosecutor: "I have reviewed the service of constitutional question. Based on past court decisions, there is an improbable chance of conviction, withdrawn." This happened at least 11 times. There were only a few paralegal cases where they accepted the deal (75 in a 60) as offered to everyone (poor clients didn't realize they can do this themselves).

4) NO ONE entered into trial with a not-guilty plea.

I'm going to love the prosecution's face when they hear me say "not-guilty, I want to hear the prosecution's case against me..." I'll most likely lose (the only way to win a speeding charge is if they mess up and if you know what they messed up), but you never know, and it'll be a lot more fun than accepting their "deal".

If someone could point out to me what would actually occur once I enter a not-guilty plea for a charge of speeding (since I haven't seen it done), that would be nice. My court date is on Wednesday!!
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by: Bookm on
Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:37 pm

Be sure that there really is NO difference (points vs no-points) with your insurance agent.

I checked with mine. He said he only considers POINTS when judging convictions, so I gladly took the 15-over no-points deal last time (down from 32-over). Was a much smaller fine as well.
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by: diehard on
Thu Dec 09, 2010 9:43 am

I went to the Markham Rd. court office last week to watch some cases like OP did.

I entered room 8 and apparently they were dealing with parking tickets only.

Anyway, most of the parking tickets were issued around September of 2009, that's 15 months ago!

Everyone accepted a deal from the prosecutor and paid $10....
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by: ME AGAIN on
Mon Dec 20, 2010 6:17 pm

My observations at traffic court in Mississauga. Went this afternoon for some entertainment and tips. Prosecutor was a smart one, and very aggressive. Called all the defendants to advise her of their intentions in court that day. Advised them of the charges and how many demerit points and fine amount for each charge but she only knew of one officer that was present, and in each of his cases she advised that the officer was present for trial. She then advised each defendant that she was willing to amend the tickets to a lesser charge with lower or no demerits and a lesser fine amount for a guilty plea. Many took the option especially the one's who were told the officer was present. She then asked the court clerk to page the officers to the court room, and then muttered out loud, "let's see if this changes some minds". All eyes went to the court room door and only 1 more officer showed. Obviously those who had this officer and recalled his face went back to the prosecutor to accept her plea bargain offer. When court finally was in session, all the plea bargains were dealth with first to rack up the score for the prosecutor. Next were the motions for adjournment, and the reasons that were accepted were "lawyer or paralegal not available for trial", "request for disclosure not provided", or so thought, and "defendant sick and unable to attend". The request for disclosure not provided was addressed with a fax confirmation from the prosecutors office that it had been sent, none the less, the judge provided adjournment. Here's the part that shocked me was that the prosecutor has the dates for the officers appearance in court for the next six months, and always requested a trial date to coincide with the officers court appearance dates. Many years ago the court would look at their calendar and when there was room on the docket that was the date, so possibly the officer would only have one case to deal with that day and most likely not appear. Obviously the courts and prosecutor's have gotten smart to this avenue, and in every case the prosecutor asked that the paperwork reflect that an adjourment had already been asked for and received so no chance of this next time. Then just before the real trials were to begin, the prosecutor asked for a recess, and then called all those who had pleaded not guilty to give them yet another chance to plead guilty to a lesser charge. About 6 out of 10 took the deal, although they still did not know if the officer was there or not. Back again to plea bargains and that left about 4 for trial. 2 had their trial and 1 was convicted of the said offence. The other was a charge of cell phone useage, and the defendant claimed she had received a call from the local hospital about her critically ill mother and had to take the call. The prosecutor took no mercy on her, and the officer also took no mercy. One thing that I noted was that the prosecutor asked the officer if he had had any conversation with the defendant and he stated yes it was in his notes. The prosecutor approached the witness stand to read the notes and then just said OK and went no where with it. Upon the defendants testimony, she stated she appealed to the officers compassion and he just issued as ticket. Obviously his notes stated something to the effect of an emergancy call being declared, but the prosecutor was not going to have him read that in court and lessen her case. The defendant then advised she had a witness to the call and the judge was upset she did not declare such before her testimony, so they could have the witness not hear her testimony. Witness testified that there had indeed been a call to her to which the prosecutor asked was he in the vehicle at the time and he stated "no". The prosecutor then asked how it was possible he knew then of the call and her on her cell phone, to which he stated" I was at the nurses station when they asked for her cell number, and was present when they called". Prosecutor was thrown a bit by that comment, and in her summary was almost caught to suggest that police and court personnel should at times have compassion, but she stopped the words from coming out and had about 10 seconds of no voice as she tried to revise her statement. Judge found it to be an emergancy and thus found her not guilty. Finally the ones whose officer had not shown up and pleaded not guilty, were called after 2 hours of court to be told the crown had no evidence to support the charges so they were withdrawn.
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by: hwybear on
Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:38 pm

Unbelievable!!! = not guilty.
An emergency is quite clearly written, that the driver must place the call (not receive) and only call EMS, FIRE, Police.

Its not about not having compassion either, hear so many of the same excuses/reasons over and over. Most certainly can list many commonly used reasons to which the above would be included.

I can not remember the last traffic court that was not set on a working day. It is not about just having one matter, courts trying to be fiscally responsible to the public, so that as minimal OT is incurred as possible for officers. Officers also like days off to be with family.
Above is merely a suggestion/thought and in no way constitutes legal advice or views of my employer.
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by: ME AGAIN on
Mon Dec 20, 2010 8:17 pm

hwybear wrote: I can not remember the last traffic court that was not set on a working day. It is not about just having one matter, courts trying to be fiscally responsible to the public, so that as minimal OT is incurred as possible for officers. Officers also like days off to be with family.
I haven't been on traffic court for over 15 years now, but back in those days it was a good thing to ask for an adjournment to a later date and as noted the court would look for first open docket date with no reference to the officer's court days. I now have a ticket for 5 KM over and am looking for avenues to fight this charge, even if it is a $27.50 fine. I would say you are correct when you say that the courts are trying to be fiscally responsible as today sure didn't indicate it was about safety on the roads, it seemed to be about getting as many guilty plea's and reduced fines processed to build up the coffers.
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by: viper1 on
Tue Dec 21, 2010 12:02 am

Hey Me Again

It has been 25 years since I had my Kawasaki and lots of tickets.

Back then I would go and watch as well.

You do not need to report in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! at the start.
Make sure your name is on the list.(at front door)

They call to ask what everyone wants to plead.

You say nothing.

They do all the other people.
Then they have to call all the other names on the list.

You sit through the whole session.

Your name has to be called 3 times to appear.

Then you answer "here" (cop has left

DA is stumped) you walk.

You do get stuck with full parking fee but no ticket

Good work!!

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use at your own risk"
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