City: Picton, ON (Prince Edward County)
Our Client: Mr. M.
Complainant: Ministry of Natural Resources
Charge(s): Speeding Ticket – More than 40 km/h in a Provincial Park
Paralegal: Mark W. Cardy
Background: Mr. M. had been visiting Sandbanks Provincial Park in Prince Edward County with his family in August of 2015. Just before the lunch hour, at approximately 11:35am, a park warden allegedly noticed Mr. M.’s vehicle approaching his location at what he believed to be a high rate of speed. The posted speed limit in any provincial park in Ontario is 40 km/h. As Mr. M.’s vehicle got closer, the warden noted that a roadside, stationary speed monitoring sign displayed a rate of speed of 52, 55, and 57 km/h. The warden proceeded to follow Mr. M.’s vehicle and, using his speedometer, paced Mr. M.’s vehicle at an alleged rate of speed of nearly 80 km/h in a posted 40 km/h zone. A routine traffic stop ensued and Mr. M. was charged with operating a motor vehicle at a rate of speed higher than that of the posted 40 km/h limit. Mr. M. did not believe he had been driving that fast and since he had a clean driving record, wanted his speeding charge to be withdrawn.
Goal: Mr. M. wanted a trial to be held in order to prove his innocence. We sought a dismissal of the speeding more than 40 km/h in a provincial park charge on the basis that there was insufficient evidence to prove the rate of speed he was actually travelling beyond a reasonable doubt.
Strategy: Having reviewed the evidence, or what is more commonly known as the disclosure, Mr. Cardy identified that an approved radar or laser device that is normally used to record accurate rates of speed was not used to clock Mr. M.’s actual speed of his vehicle. Mr. Cardy advised that it would be in Mr. M.’s best interest to run a trial to challenge the strength of the Crown’s case as Mr. Cardy did not believe that there was sufficient evidence to convict Mr. M.. Mr. Cardy’s strategy was two-fold; 1) challenge the park warden’s testimony in relation to whether the stationary roadside speed monitoring device was calibrated to accurately record a rate of speed, and 2) to challenge the park warden’s evidence in relation to whether his speedometer on his vehicle used to pace Mr. M.’s had ever been tested and calibrated against an approved radar or laser device to accurately record an official rate of speed.
Verdict: At trial, Mr. Cardy’s theory of the case was completely accurate. The warden testified as to his observation of a rate of speed as a result of the stationary speed monitoring device. Mr. Cardy cross-examined the officer, asking if he was aware when, or even if, that roadside monitoring device was ever calibrated to accurately measure speed. The officer could not answer. In addition, the warden had also testified to recording a rate of speed of 80 km/h as a result of pacing Mr. M.’s vehicle with his own. Again, Mr. Cardy cross-examined the warden, asking him to the best of his knowledge if his speedometer had ever been calibrated, or if his vehicle had ever been tested against an approved radar or laser device to indicate that the speedometer could accurately record a rate of speed. The officer had no knowledge of such a test. As a result of Mr. Cardy’s thorough cross-examination of the park warden, the learned Justice of the Peace could award no weight to the officer’s testimony, and Mr. M.’s speeding by more than 40 km/h ticket was dismissed.