Posts Tagged ‘Ontario Highway Traffic Act’

Should There Be Access To A Public Defender In Traffic Court?

November 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Today I went to the Toronto West Court Office at the York Civic Centre to look into a few things in preparation for a traffic court appearance which I will soon have to make. The alleged offence occurred, according to the ticket I received from a police officer, on December 31, 2010 and my trial is in December of 2011. As far as I know, this length of time is a violation of my rights as afforded to me by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Specifically, it is in violation of Section 11(b) which reads:

11. Any person charged with an offence has the right

(b) to be tried within a reasonable time;

And last I checked/heard the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that ‘a reasonable time’ is defined as 8-10 months. However, I am not a lawyer. The Prosecutor’s Office has professional lawyers because, quite obviously they are the Prosecutor’s Office and it is their job to make sure that people guilty of criminal acts are sentenced within our laws. But is that fair? Is it a fair trial when I am not granted access to an attorney of my own? Maybe not to represent me in court but to advise me in the lead up to being in court?

The reason I say this specifically is because I was in the Prosecutor’s Office filing for disclosure to be given to me and was speaking with the lady behind the counter – who I assume is an aid, a secretary, an assistant, or a law student  and not an actual prosecutor (but I could be wrong). I spoke with her about the length of time between my being ticketed and the upcoming court date and whether or not it violates Section 11(b). She refused to answer the question. Because I had already done some light research on the internet into the matter I then asked her where I could get the form necessary to file a complaint about these right being violated. Again, she refused to answer me. How is it fair for the every day untrained citizen Read more…

Cyclists & The Rules Of The Road

April 8, 2011 2 comments

Two Toronto bike cops doing security for a protest. Nothing to do with post other than they're cops on bikes.

Today, the popular Toronto Blog BlogTO had a piece written by Derek Flak about whether or not cyclists should have to play by the same rules as cars on the roads. The article was called, predictable, “Should cyclists have to play by the same rules as cars?” What Derek Flak means when he asked that question is if a cyclist judges an intersection to be safe is it OK for him/her to just ignore a red light or stop sign. Derek opines that cyclists are “[a]lways something of a grey area when it comes to traffic laws…” Really Derek? You go on to acknowledge in your article that under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act cyclists are responsible just like other road users to obey all traffic laws but you don’t seem to think that is much of an issue. I am not a lawyer – and maybe one of my favorite commenters who is one will weigh in here when this article is posted – but seems to me that no matter if a law is generally followed or not it is still the law and you can still get in trouble for disobeying it, and rightly so.

A friend of mine’s brother once walked across the opening to a private street (in many people’s opinion it is more of a driveway, here’s a link to Google Street View of the intersection) and the 16 year old kid was given a ticket for jaywalking because it was a red light for him. He didn’t pay it and got his permit (not his license, his permit) suspended, which we all thought was absolutely hilarious at the time. Now, do people jaywalk across major streets all the time? Sure they do. Did most of us even consider where this guy walked across a real side street? Nope. But, the law says it is a street therefore it is a street and the cop was perfectly correct in giving the kid a ticket.

Derek Flak’s reasoning for why it is OK for bikes to disobey the rules of the road are:

  • They don’t even take up a full lane.
  • When a bike hits a motorized vehicle they will’ lose’ (bear the brunt of the collision and more likely be harmed) pretty much every single time.

I will deal with these 2 reasons and why I think they are not valid arguments. Read more…

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