Penalty for not disputing ticket deemed unfair by B.C. Supreme Court justice

Following the driver's guilty plea, a justice of the peace handed him a one-month driving prohibition — a punishment that would not have been on the table had the driver simply paid his ticket without filing a dispute

The decision of a Kamloops justice of the peace to penalize a driver for deciding not to dispute a speeding ticket “offends fairness,” a B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled in overturning it.

Adam West was pulled over for driving more than 160 km/h on the Coquihalla Highway in 2017 and handed a $196 ticket.

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West’s lawyer filed a dispute for the speeding ticket and a hearing was set for Aug. 29, 2018. On that day, West’s lawyer appeared in front of Judicial Justice of the Peace Joan Hughes in Kamloops traffic court and pleaded guilty.

Following West’s guilty plea, Hughes handed him a one-month driving prohibition — a punishment that would not have been on the table had West simply paid his ticket without filing a dispute.

Defence lawyer Dan McNamee appealed on the grounds that Hughes had no jurisdiction to impose a greater sentence for speeding and her reasons for doing so were insufficient.

“Counsel’s respectful approach to the judicial justice was countered by an abrupt, truncated reasoning process that simply penalized Mr. West for deciding not to contest the ticket,” B.C. Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley said in his decision to quash the driving prohibition.

“It offends fairness and decency to impose a higher penalty on an offender who chose to advise the court that he was not contesting his speeding ticket, as opposed to a lesser penalty to an offender that simply walked out of the courtroom. … The judicial justice had no authority to impose the further one month prohibition.”

When West was pulled over for speeding, he was also handed a 90-day immediate roadside prohibition. That infraction was never challenged.

© Kamloops This Week


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