What Should I Ask For In My Request For Disclosure?

Q&A ImageIs there a particular form required for a request for disclosure in a traffic matter?  If not is there a particular format that must be used?



This is a great question and let's see if we can develop a really useful answer over time with the input of others.

Over my service in traffic enforcement I received a number of requests for disclosure. A simple letter to the officer that issued the ticket is sufficient to do this. Attaching a photocopy of the ticket may help to speed the process. The details I am familiar with ranged anywhere from "I am requesting disclosure" to a lengthy list obviously gleaned from internet research of advice provided by people who were not clear on the concept nor even in Canada.

I would return a synopsis of the evidence that I intended to give in the same fashion that I would with the narrative report to Crown Counsel that I forwarded with a request for criminal charges. I would photocopy and attach a copy of my notes along with an explanation of the shorthand that I used in them. I would expect for most disputants, this would be sufficient. Of course, if it is not, you are welcome to request more detail or even extra explanation for points raised in the initial disclosure that you had not considered in your request.

Let's start with a simple speeding ticket as an example since the majority of traffic court cases seem to be related to this. Should I ever be required to defend myself for this, I would be interested in:

  • If a speed measuring device was used, what type was it
  • The officer's qualifications for the operation of any speed measuring device used
  • When the speed measuring device in question was tested, how it was tested and what the results of the tests were
  • The officer's experience in operating the speed measuring device
  • What the speed limit was at the point where my vehicle's speed was measured
  • Where the nearest sign showing that limit was posted and did they check that it was posted and visible that day
  • Were there any other vehicles present around my vehicle when the measurement(s) were made
  • What the officer estimated my speed to be before using the speed measuring device
  • Was there a clear line of sight between the speed measuring device and my vehicle
  • When was the speed measuring device tested for accuracy after my speed was measured
  • What were the road, weather and traffic conditions that the officer observed at the time I was dealt with

It is not necessary to ask for specific disclosure on some of these topics as you could simply ask about them in cross examination, but if you do ask, make sure that the answers are the same! Also, make sure that you investigate some of them yourself, such as where the posted speed sign was. You do need to be able to check that the answers given to you are accurate as far as you are able to.

I have been asked questions that have absolutely no bearing on the case and refusing to answer them will not jeopardize the prosecution. Some examples of these questions may be:

  • Please supply me with a copy of the operating manual for the speed measuring device used
  • What is the VIN number of the police vehicle used and please supply all maintenance records for it
  • What is the serial number of the speed measuring device used and please supply all maintenance records for it
  • What size were the tires on the police vehicle

I will visit the first item above briefly. Chances are excellent that the officer will deny a copy of the manual for copyright reasons. Whether this is acceptable or not at this point I don't know, I stopped my policing career in 2005 and court expectations do change. However, you certainly may expect to be able to attend to the police office and be given the manual to read and make notes from while you are there. I would be interested in the test procedure to insure the officer followed the expected steps and the error conditions so that I could inquire about them if I felt that the measured speed was incorrect.

I will come back and update this answer as the thread matures, if it does.

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