CASE LAW - R v Gutovich

BC Courts Coat of ArmsIt's probably safe to say that most municipalities have a bylaw regulating the removal of snow from sidewalks. This case involves the City of Vancouver's Street and Traffic Bylaw, Harold Gutovich and the sidewalk in front of his home at 1121 W. 16th Avenue. Mr. Gutovich had been charged under the bylaw for failing to remove snow and ice and was acquitted at trial. The Crown appealed that verdict in R v Gutovich.

The appeal was heard by Justice Blake.

[27] Whether a specific sidewalk, on a specific date, was rendered unsafe as a result of an owner or occupier failing to remove snow and ice from the sidewalk is an issue which requires evidence of the specific condition of that sidewalk on that date. The Crown failed to tender evidence sufficient to satisfy the Judicial Justice that the sidewalk was not safe. The Crown had the burden of establishing a breach of the Bylaw beyond a reasonable doubt, and the Judicial Justice determined they had failed to meet this burden. I accept the Judicial Justice’s approach to the statutory interpretation, and the burden of proof, was correct.

He dismissed the appeal.

The details of the initial dispute were not published.

I live in Victoria and we get little snow. Being 79 years of age I do not want to shovel snow. I have also noted and others have commented as well is that when the snow is shovelled and the temperatures drop the cleaned sidewalks become very slippery. I and others would rather walk in the snow on the lawns where at least you can get traction. Of course as long as it's not too deep. But it seldom is!