What’s your verdict Part 2: New information

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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.”

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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.

The conclusion

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.

17 Comments:

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  1. Bob I know this is old news but I saw this today and as I was driving down from the Smith Dorian, I thought of you: http://oppositelock.kinja.com/how-to-reduce-the-odds-of-being-ticketed-during-a-traff-1645604557?utm_campaign=socialflow_jalopnik_facebook&utm_source=jalopnik_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

    Thanks, Hugh. I’ll follow those instructions next time. -Bob

  2. Thank goodness there are people like yourself who challenge there tickets. The young police officers need to learn from this and other experiences in a lower court setting to refine the procedures of evidence to be ready for more serious cases in their future. They made a mistake enforcing at that location for the following reasons;
    1. You are eastbound on Spray LR. It is 60KPH. You approach two yellow warning signs saying 30. Yellow signs are warning only and are not enforceable. Only white signs are. You can enter onto the Parkway at 60KPH as there is no sign otherwise to say the speed limit is 50 at this location of merge.
    2. So you are 11 KPH over the speed limit. The Crown Prosecutors Office will not proceed with speeding 12 KPH and under. Period. This is the tolerance will know exists when we travel to Lake Louise at 102KPH with no worry of tickets.
    You were right fighting the ticket but the reason you were successful is very simple. The Crown could not prove their case.
    Hopefully you will put as much effort into skiing when it warms up as you have into this situation.

  3. Wow, everyone, step outside for two secs and chill out. You can agree or disagree with Bob on his case and pov, but please, stop inferring things that are not implied and cut Bob some slack. Unless you were at the scene and had a multi-view perspective you don’t have the data to offer a verdict much less a condemnation. Same thing with the cops; they could be right and polite or they could be lazy jerks. I’ve come across both types and I’d imagine that most people reading this blog have had a similar range of experience. If not you’re leading a blessed or cursed life (that was humour). Though in this case we do have a fair bit of circumstantial evidence of Bob’s behaviour – befriending people on the trails, community service, people who post favourably about meeting him, stories I and I’d guess others have heard firsthand from people who have met him, etc., to have a pre-disposition to believing Bob’s side of the story re the inter-action with the cops. But again, if anyone was there first hand and can vouch for the cops, i.e., introduce counter evidence, that would help. And, most importantly, Bob did not waste the court’s time. We have an adversarial process and we rely on both sides participating to keep the state in check. When someone of authority holds the power to fine, imprison or impose the ultimate sanction, taking life, the checks and balances aren’t ‘technicalities’.

    Finally, Bob puts a huge amount of time into this without compensation from those using it; I’d submit that he’s more than entitled to the occasional rant. So, cut the guy some slack.

    • C. Dade you say that we don’t have the data to offer a verdict, but that is exactly what we are invited to do. The title of the post is “What’s your verdict.” Based on the information provided my verdict is guilty. The charge is speeding and a complicated rationalization about the dynamics of merging doesn’t convince me otherwise.

      Bob, I don’t think it’s necessary (or fair) to insert your point by point rebuttal into other people’s comments. You invited readers to provide their verdict – you should let them have their say.
      Don

      I think most people appreciate the additional insight. You remind me of those cops. 🙂 -Bob

  4. Bob I will continue to look at this page every day and very much appreciate your huge effort on it. But you have asked for our verdict so here goes.;

    1. you had to speed up or slow down to make the merge. If you had been proceeding slowly and prudently, slowing down would have been easy and safe

    Slowing down to merge into faster traffic just doesn’t work. When you’re at the end of the merge lane, slowing down to merge won’t end well. -Bob

    2 you chose to “boot it’, exceeding the speed limit by almost 50%.

    3 clearly you broke the law subject to a defence that “if I slowed down I might have been rear ended”

    4. amongst other things, that defence is speculative,self serving and without merit, You are guilty.

    Guilty according to the letter of the law, not the spirit of the law. -Bob

    5. given your posts(I noticed the stupid word) I bet you were a little belligerent yourself in your interaction with the cop. Would appreciate your comments on that,

    Refresh my memory, where did I use the word “stupid?” No, I was not belligerent. I’m not on a power trip. Assertive would describe my style of speaking. -Bob

    6. in advancing your silly defence it was you that wasted the valuable time of the Court, the prosecutor and the police officers.

    7.you were not prejudiced in any way by the east//west disclosure confusion but because our system errs on the side of fairness to the accused you walked. Because of that built in extra fairness violators frequently get off on technicalities and I bet sometimes you, like most citizens, complain about that. Correct?

    I was fully prepared and looking forward to making my case in front of the judge. Based on what I had seen from the judge, I was 99% confident of winning. I’m very disappointed that I didn’t get to see it through. -Bob

    I enjoy the extra curricular posts and really liked the one about your horse in Sask.

    • “stupid mistakes” in your response to Patty Glover Dec 15 9:50. Assertive?-nice euphemism

      Used in that context, it wasn’t belligerent, but a very apt description.

      Assertive – having or showing a confident and forceful personality.
      “patients should be more assertive with their doctors”

      Belligerent – of warlike character; aggressively hostile; bellicose. “the coach became quite belligerent and spit at an umpire after being thrown out of the game” -Bob

  5. As Rumpole of the Bailey said, “There is a lot of Law, but very little Justice” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQ-uX_JqBk8. I imagined that Bob’s appearance in court may have been similar to Rumpole’s in this clip.)

    Besides the obvious public safety concerns, this merge lane sounds like it contributes to Rumpole’s axiom in a significant fashion. Might be a good vote getting cause to address by a pro-active councillor at an appropriate time. That councillor would do well to study Rumpole first however.

  6. Bob,

    I for one enjoy reading human interest stories – especially stories where under different circumstances I would have been in your shoes.

    Merging into busy traffic requires split second decision making and you made the right choice. The whole point of being able to tell your side of the story in court is because its not always black or white.
    Michael

    As I sat in court observing the judge, my confidence in winning my case grew. The judge was fair and made well-reasoned decisions after listening to the accused. The one that stands out in my mind was the woman who got a speeding ticket because she was in a hurry to get her kid some medical help. He also exhibited a sense of humour, and I was going to add some amusement to my defence. -Bob

  7. Oh, and yea, we were coming home from Sking! Had turned east from the Pipestone turn off, stayed in the left lane as to not throw up rocks into the vehicles racing down the right lane (I’m looking at you Ski Louise Shuttle driver that I paid YOUR ticket). He just assumed since I was in the left lane that I was the one speeding, he was completely blocked by the snow mound in the median, but testified he could “see me” speeding, even though the shuttle van had just blown past me on the right side. So much for being nice.

  8. Wouldn’t the proverbial ounce of prevention by slowing down a bit and letting the Jeep do his macho thing at the merge zone be worth the pound of all this aggravation and waste of our favorite SkierBob’s time?

    I’m pretty sure that slowing down as much as would have been required would have resulted in my being rear-ended. -Bob

  9. Lets see, you were caught driving recklessly due to admitted road rage and 21 kph over the posted speed limit in a residential zone and now you are making two of Canmore’s finest look bad, what does this have to do with skiing?? Did you mention that there is a crosswalk less than 100 meters from the end of the merge? Sorry Bob but I disagree with you on this.

    It has nothing to do with skiing, and no one is forcing you to read it! Based on all the comments, people seem to enjoy these human interest stories. I’m fine with you disagreeing but there was no road rage involved, and it’s not a residential zone. If anyone had a rage problem, it was the ticketing officer. He was rude, impatient, and dismissive. As I mentioned, I’m very supportive of the police and the work they do, but these two cops acted like jerks every time I had to interact with them. I didn’t do anything to make them look bad. They did a pretty good job of that themselves.

    I would like to hear what you would have done in the circumstances – Bob

    • You are right that no one was forcing me to read about that, but editing your comments to be vindictive after you have posted are the exact reason that I will never read your narcissistic blog again. You constantly attack and vilify anyone that dares to offer a different opinion of you. As for the RCMP in Canmore I hope they add you to the list of vehicles to watch for and bust you at every opportunity. Have a nice life.

      • Vindictive? I addressed the concerns in your comment without making any judgements about you, but you never answered my question. Offer some useful suggestions. What would you have done if faced with the same situation and had to make a split-second decision to avoid an accident? I suspect you have no helpful answer.

        Narcissistic doesn’t describe me, but how about vain and cocksure? 🙂 How would you describe someone who makes all these disparaging remarks about me and hides behind an anonymous name? Cowardly?

        Saying the cops will be after me now tells me how vindictive you think they are. The RCMP’s reputation has taken quite hit with their many scandals, do you think they want to make it worse for themselves? I’m not worried because bullies always seem to pick on the weak and powerless, not on the self-confident and assertive.

        Let’s hope the RCMP and all involved will have the self-awareness to learn from this situation.

        OMG, I just looked out the window and saw someone installing a GPS tracker under the fender of my car!

  10. Guilty as charged!
    Sentenced to continued community service 🙂

    Even if you win these cases, the process tends to punish you in any event(but I will accept your sentence!) -Bob

  11. You were travelling eastbound, the disclosure says you were travelling west.

    Right! -Bob

  12. I was fined, went through the whole process you did. Didn’t take the stand though, my mistake. Judge told me she believed me, that I was well prepared but, since I didn’t testify under oath, just in my summary, she had to find me guilty.

    After watching the cases come and go I could tell from the prosecutor team’s sheepish faces that they knew the sherrif was lying.

    C’est la vie, live,learn,ramble on.

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