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Old 11-23-2009, 08:43 AM   #1
chromius
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Another Judge rules street racing law is unconstitutional



TORONTO -- A second judge in Ontario has ruled that the province's stunt driving law is unconstitutional, which could increase the pressure on police to stop laying the charge until the issue is decided by a higher court.

Justice Peter West, a provincial court judge in Newmarket, found that a potential penalty of up to six months in jail violates the Charter of Rights because the law does not permit an accused person to put forward any defence.

"There is no air of reality to the Crown's submissions that a defendant charged with stunt driving has an available defence of due diligence," wrote Judge West, in a ruling released Nov. 19.

As a result, he dismissed stunt driving charges against Alexandra Drutz, who was 18 when she clocked at 157 km/h while driving her parent's car in March 2008 on Highway 407, just north of Toronto.

Stunt driving is defined as being more than 50 kilometres per hour over the speed limit, which is the same type of "absolute liability" offence as speeding infractions in the Highway Traffic Act, said Judge West. "Calling the conduct stunt driving does not change its characterization - it is still a speeding offence albeit by a different name," he stated.

An absolute liability offence means someone may not argue they took precautions and did not realize how fast they were driving. More than 20 years ago the Supreme Court of Canada stated that potential jail terms for offences that do not permit a defence breaches the Charter.

The ruling by Judge West comes just weeks after a provincial court judge in eastern Ontario came to the same conclusion and overturned the conviction of a 62-year-old grandmother charged with stunt driving.

The Ontario Provincial Police stated at the time that it would continue to lay charges under the stunt driving laws. The province also appealed that decision. It is scheduled to be heard by the Ontario Court of Appeal in about two months from now.

The two court rulings are binding on Justices of Peace in Ontario, who preside over many Highway Traffic Act trials.

Until there is a ruling on the stunt driving laws from the Ontario Court of Appeal, police should take a "time out" from laying these charges, said Enzo Rondinelli, a Toronto lawyer who along with Paul Cooper represented Ms. Drutz.

"The current score in provincial court is 2-0 in favour of a finding of constitutional invalidity," noted Mr. Rondinelli. "There are other sections under the Highway Traffic Act for police to deal with speeders," he added.

More than 10,000 people have been charged under the stunt driving provisions in Ontario since they were introduced in 2007 by then-attorney-general Michael Bryant.

Judge West noted in his ruling that the stunt driving provisions were passed unanimously by the Ontario legislature in what was billed as a law targeting street racing. The specific "regulations" however, which defined speeding as stunt driving and have now been found to be unconstitutional, were drawn up at a later date by the Ontario government.

http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=2254116
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Old 11-23-2009, 10:44 AM   #2
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YES PETER WEST!!

I've met him, he had a law firm before he became a judge. They still represent the place I worked in the summer, he came out to do a talk. Awesome guy.
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Old 11-23-2009, 11:36 AM   #3
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I'd love to see the stats of the people who actually follow through with legal representation and get the charges dismissed...
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Old 11-23-2009, 11:40 AM   #4
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took them two years
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Old 11-23-2009, 01:31 PM   #5
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cash grab.
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Old 11-23-2009, 01:35 PM   #6
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so i dont get it, is it over with or what...?
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Old 11-23-2009, 02:20 PM   #7
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^^^ no
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Old 11-23-2009, 02:31 PM   #8
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lol i came here to post just this. Anywho, here's the star's article on it:
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/crim...w?bn=1#article

It's pathetic that it's been ruled uncontitutional twice, by two different judges, and the jackasses are still using my money to fight the rulings!
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Old 11-23-2009, 02:31 PM   #9
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I see that we want the constitution of rights and freedoms when it benefits us.

But I dont get it guys, I mean seriously, dont you know that speeding is bad and kills? Why would you want to take the power AWAY from the police who just want to do their jobs, and save little (adult) girls??? And save us all from our selves? I dont speed anyway, we HAVE NOTHING TO hide, more laws are better. I dont speed, I want to be safe!!!

I post this only because Chromius posted this article. And I think Chromius knows what Im hinting at by writing this..
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Old 11-23-2009, 02:32 PM   #10
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I'd love to see the stats of the people who actually follow through with legal representation and get the charges dismissed...
I'd guess something like 1%...nobody has the money to fight these in court properly.
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Old 11-23-2009, 03:43 PM   #11
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I just heard the information on CHCH News. I wonder if this fails on the government side and what happens to all of those that were charged.
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Old 11-23-2009, 03:51 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by sirex View Post
I see that we want the constitution of rights and freedoms when it benefits us.

But I dont get it guys, I mean seriously, dont you know that speeding is bad and kills? Why would you want to take the power AWAY from the police who just want to do their jobs, and save little (adult) girls??? And save us all from our selves? I dont speed anyway, we HAVE NOTHING TO hide, more laws are better. I dont speed, I want to be safe!!!

I post this only because Chromius posted this article. And I think Chromius knows what Im hinting at by writing this..

no one is saying speeding is good. the law itself is ludicrous
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Old 11-23-2009, 04:36 PM   #13
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I have to say the name as stated of the law is wrong as it was not the intended purpose however I think it would be best to just adjust the penalty for doing in excess of 50 k/m and or rename the fine and take it out from that umbrella.

Bottom line, there is no reason you need to be doing 150K+, speed kills and the penalty should be severe. The worst message we can send is gross neglegence while driving is ok no matter what the speed.
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Old 11-23-2009, 05:43 PM   #14
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no one is saying speeding is good. the law itself is ludicrous
kind of like the police asking to search your premises without a warrant???? Ya I thought so.
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Old 11-23-2009, 11:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirex View Post
I see that we want the constitution of rights and freedoms when it benefits us.

But I dont get it guys, I mean seriously, dont you know that speeding is bad and kills? Why would you want to take the power AWAY from the police who just want to do their jobs, and save little (adult) girls??? And save us all from our selves? I dont speed anyway, we HAVE NOTHING TO hide, more laws are better. I dont speed, I want to be safe!!!

I post this only because Chromius posted this article. And I think Chromius knows what Im hinting at by writing this..
Sorry, I don't see the relation between a cop asking for a search, and a cop impounding your property without due process. Two different situations as far as I'm concerned. Now if in the other thread the cops were seizing peoples property or houses without a warrant, then there would be issue. But in the other thread the people are not being denied any rights. They have the right to say no, and they're not being deprived of their property.
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