Q&A - Charter Issues in Traffic Court
My question is whether a Justice of Peace can deny a Charter argument that has already been heard and dismissed by a Provincial Judge and then referred back to Traffic court.
I made a formal request for disclosure for an officer's notes, information about the laser speed monitoring device used (model, manufacturer, serial number and owners manual) and proof that he had completed a training course/certificate in speed estimation and operating such devices.
At my first hearing, the officer stated he never received my request for disclosure. I brought up a lack of disclosure Charter 7 violation and was sent off to make a Charter argument in front of a provincial judge 4 months later. I never received any disclosure from the Crown or officer prior to the Charter argument. The case was unfortunately dismissed. The Judge felt the constable should be provided yet another opportunity to provide disclosure and referred the case back to Traffic court with a note on file stating I was seeking disclosure in the case.
Prior to my second hearing in Traffic Court, I sent a second formal request for disclosure to the constable with the new hearing date. Two weeks before the trial, I followed up with a phone call to the constable because I never received anything in the mail. I never heard back. On the date of the trial, the constable brought his notes and pulled me out of court to show them to me and negotiate a deal with a lower fine. I refused because I felt strongly about my case, since I had not received full disclosure on the day of the trial. The police officer said he didn't have any information about the laser detector used, nor did he have the serial number, manufacturer or copy of the manual. He also didn't have his certificate of training. He said he wasn't required to provide any of that information even though I had requested it. When I brought this up to the judge, making the same Charter argument for lack of disclosure and this time an untimely disclosure of the officer's notes, the justice of peace didn't seem to care because my Charter arguments had previously been dismissed in court. However, there was no remedy provided for the lack of disclosure. Only after an intense debate, did the judge grant an adjournment so I could review the notes the officer did provide on the same day.
I'm somewhat frustrated by the whole process. I know there is no evidence other than the officer's testimony which will be based entirely on his notes from 1 and 1/2 years ago. It makes no sense that my request for disclosure has no relevance to the case, especially since there was instruction from the provincial judge at the Charter argument to provide disclosure and it is a speeding allegation using a speed monitoring device.
The Judge seized the case meaning it will be referred back to him again. I don't know why this happened, but since my charter arguments are being denied by this particular judge, it makes my case even more difficult. I’m not really sure what I should do. I have to make a 4th appearance in court (upcoming 3rd appearance in Traffic Court, 1 Charter Argument appearance) and have very little information to go on from here .
Do I have the right to launch another Charter argument, since the police officer has acknowledged receipt of disclosure request, but did not provide full disclosure in Traffic Court. Why is it so difficult to get basic information regarding the speed monitoring device and the qualifications of the officer? Should this information not be transparent if we ask for it before the hearing? I feel this information is relevent and would help me prepare a stonger defense. I’d appreciate any comments, suggestions or advice.