Good news for anyone who has received a photo radar ticket in Quebec, as a recent court ruling has found the tickets to be invalid.
In a ruling obtained by Montreal newspaper La Presse, Judge Serge Cimon found that tickets for speeding that were based on photo radar evidence were inadmissible. In the ruling, Judge Cimon found that the problem is that the officer who writes the ticket wasn’t there for the violation. That means that they were not able to verify the speed limit at the location of the infraction and that they were not able to verify the calibration of the radar equipment. The Judge found that this means that any testimony from police based on the evidence is hearsay, due to being based on second-hand information.
The ruling may also impact Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s plans to implement photo radar in that province, as well as similar systems already in place in other provinces.
Judge Cimon’s ruling was scathing about the photo radar system, saying “the Court deplores the fact that the Sûreté du Québec has put in place an offense reporting system… in total contravention of the requirements.” The judgment also remarked that authorities tried to drop the charges before the trial, a move that “appears to be motivated by preventing the Court from considering the defendant’s claim.” That would have prevented the ruling, and the effect of invalidating the tickets, something the Department of Justice would prefer to avoid. The ruling also indicates that future defendants would be entitled to seek repayment of legal fees if prosecutors continued to file “evidence that they know to be unlawful.”
Since their introduction in 2009, the cameras have produced nearly 700,000 tickets and $92 million in revenue.
The Justice Department did not immediately comment on the matter but are likely to appeal such a broadly impacting decision.
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