At the bare minimum, the law only requires you to be holding the device.
Officers in Ontario have come up with alternative ways to look for handheld device offenders. One of the other common ways is to have an officer ride public transit and radio it in to an awaiting officer in a cruiser.
I don't think I've heard about the rooftop binoculars before, but it wouldn't surprise me. Binoculars are not created equal. With a decent set, being on a second story rooftop next to the road would be a cakewalk for spotting.
If you're interested in pursuing it further, you can request a trial. The next step after that would be to make a disclosure request and go from there.
I highly doubt, they're making binocular observations and later laying Part 3 Summons Charges when you get home. Doesn't seem like an efficient means of hand-held enforcement. They literally have to be fully uniformed waiting inside a bus-shelter, it'd be shooting fish in a barrel.
Regarding the vape vs. phone, it really depends on where your phone is located at the time of the traffic-stop. If it's securely mounted to your vehicle, then you'd have to sell the vape story to the stopping officer.
Would have to try to make sure the stopping officer makes notes that when you were stopped, the phone was securely mounted and a vape device was found next to you.
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