Update: I’ve posted the conclusion to this case at the bottom of this post.
The plot thickens, and more factors come into play.
Before going to court, a defendant is entitled to receive a “disclosure.” This is the RCMP’s story and their reasoning for the ticket. I applied for the disclosure statement on Oct 27.
One week before the trial date I still hadn’t received the disclosure statement, and I don’t know if I ever would have if I didn’t take the initiative to track down Shauna Elford. Get a load of her job title: “Traffic Clerk for Okotoks, Airdrie, Turner Valley, Strathmore, Canmore, Didsbury and Cochrane Assistant to Dave Burroughs, Bev Shugg, and Brian Trotter.”
I received the disclosure on Dec 9. It contained a glaring error. Although I would rather defend this case based on its merits, because I have a convincing and compelling defence planned, but now this technicality enters the picture.
I’m posting the disclosure and let’s see if you can discover the issue.
Three hours into the court proceedings, court is adjourned for a spell, and I finally get approached by the crown prosecutor and asked if I’d like to take a plea deal.
NO! I explain the reasons why I’d rather proceed, and also point out the error in the disclosure which will absolve me in any event. She ain’t buyin’ it.
She suggests I talk to the two RCMP officers who are involved in this case. Really? The officer who had no time to listen on the day of the incident?
I finally get to explain my side of the story to the two RCMP officers out in the lobby. They don’t think I have a leg to stand on. I asked the officers what authority the information on the disclosure carries, referring to the mistake. Constable Ashraf replies dismissively, “I’ll just tell the judge I made a mistake.”
I say I’m quite happy to present my case in front of the judge based on its merits. One of them arrogantly says, “If you’re happy, we’re happy.”
Back into the court room, and in half an hour my name is finally called. I’m totally prepared, primed and ready to liven up this court room. Finally I get to present my case in front of an impartial adjudicator.
What happened next shocked me. My jaw dropped six inches and I couldn’t believe my ears.
Have you ever heard the expression “it was like kissing your sister?” That’s how I felt when the crown prosecutor said “We will not proceed with this case, and are dropping the charge.”
The judge, jokingly, asked me, if I accepted the decision of the crown prosecutor! I said to him, eliciting a laugh, “What! I prepared this thorough and convincing defense, and you’re dropping the charges!” I said I had looked forward to saying my piece, and this was disappointing to me, to get off on a technicality.
Indeed, the cops screwed up with the disclosure, and despite their brave face a few minutes earlier, they were looking quite sheepish when the prosecutor insinuated their mistake made it impossible to proceed. Furthermore, after hearing the essence of my defence, the prosecutor probably knew I had a 99% chance of winning and it would just further embarrass them.
This experience has left me with a very jaded view of the judicial system. It is archaic, cumbersome, frustrating, uncommunicative, and horribly inefficient. I can’t imagine the cost to taxpayers for this farce.