CASE LAW - R v Zargarian
This is an appeal by Bahman Zargarian from his conviction by a Judicial Justice of the Peace in Provincial Court at Nanaimo on December 19, 2012. Mr. Zargarian's vehicle had been observed in traffic by a constable who visually determined that it was travelling faster than the posted speed limit of 50 km/h. Based on that observation, the constable stopped the vehicle and issued Mr. Zargarian, who was driving, a speeding ticket. Mr. Zargarian disputed the ticket and was convicted in provincial traffic court.
On appeal, the defence argued that the police officer had no training that would make his ability to estimate speed more accurately than the average citizen. Further, it was dark, raining, and the two vehicles were travelling toward each other. Crown presented cases where the courts had accepted visual evidence of speed corroborated by pacing and advised the court that no case had been found that said visual estimation of speed alone was insufficient to support a conviction.
Mr. Justice Halfyard held the opinion, on the evidence presented, the trial judge could reasonably have reached the conclusion that the appellant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It follows that the appellant has failed to show that the verdict was unreasonable or not supported by the evidence. The appeal was dismissed.
Visual Speed Charge
If the courts will convict a motorist of speeding based upon nothing more than the visual estimate of a police officer, I don't understand why the police spend our money on radar, laser and aircraft enforcement.
I had no idea the "reasonable doubt" threshold was as low as this. Amazing.
Let's exam the facts
The charge of basic speeding (vs a charge of excessive speeding) is a charge of exceeding a certain limit.
If, for example, the charge was "travelling [a certain speed] in a XX speed zone" it would require a stringent measurement of the speed.
That is not the case, the charge is "exceeding the speed limit"
As members of the general public, even with no training at all, we frequently notice vehicles that, perhaps drive down our residential street, or pass us when walking somewhere and note that "gee that guy was sure going fast".
Now put yourself in the place of a police officer, who has used laser or radar and has continually watched vehicles traveling along a roadway and then through the use of the speed measuring device determined the vehicles actual speed.
Doing this over and over and over, would certainly assist a police officer in becoming very good at estimating speeds. That doesn't mean that the said police officer has to know with a certainty that a vehicle is travelling an exact speed, just that the vehicle is travelling in excess of the speed limit.
In the case at hand the police officer estimated that the subject vehicle was travelling 75 kph in a 50 kph zone. It would be certainly a stretch to suspect that the police officer was wrong by 25 kph.
How many times do we drive (in normal conditions, no snow, rain, ice etc) in traffic at or below the speed limit ? Isn't it quite common that traffic is generally travelling at least a kilometer or two above the limit, periodically ?
Granted the police tolerate a reasonable amount of speed in excess of the limit, thus most of us don't get ticketed for slight speed indiscretions.
Visual Speed Charge
.... and keep in mind that cops are allowed to lie in court and do so every day.
Not a Constructive Comment
Negative comments that are justified, on topic and show a point are welcome here. Comments like this are not. Phaedrus has been warned of account suspension.