Instead of skiing today, and being out in the fresh mountain air, enjoying a wonderful trail with excellent tracks, I spent the day in a hot, packed courtroom sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with lawbreakers and an assortment of other miscreants.
Awaiting my turn at justice, I had to sit through hours. and. hours. and. hours. of watching people being fined $600-$800 and having their licence suspended for 30 days for speeding in Banff National Park. Most were doing at least 50 KmH over the speed limit.
My turn finally came and the decision will surprise you. It sure surprised me!
Let’s go back to the beginning and see if you think I had a valid case.
It was the August long weekend at 3:35 pm in the afternoon when I was returning home from a lovely day of biking on Goat Creek. Coming to the end of the Spray Lakes road, where it meets Three Sisters Parkway, I had to merge with a long line of traffic heading east. For anyone from Calgary who skis at the nordic centre, you do this when you’re heading home, too.
What happened next is an event which everyone of you will have experienced and can identify with. Trying to merge when the vehicle beside you will not give you any space.
The merge lane is 80 metres long, I’m quickly running out of real estate, and as I saw it, I had four choices and had to make a decision in a nano-second.
- Force my way over and risk side-swiping a big Jeep
- Drive in the bike lane where there are bikers(remember, it’s a busy long weekend)
- Stop suddenly. Not really a good idea when there’s traffic on your bumper.
- Boot it and get ahead of the jerk in the Jeep.
It was a no-brainer. I hit the gas, pulled in front of the Jeep, and all was fine except, oh-oh, cops with a radar gun.
I was clocked at 71 kmH in a 50 KmH zone. I tried to explain the situation to the RCMP officer, but he wasn’t in any mood to listen to my pleadings(His shift was probably ending at this point in the late afternoon). On the contrary, he got very impatient and belligerent when I said I was going to fight the ticket. In that case, he said, he would make sure I get the full extent of the fine possible which was $175.00
I can only surmise that the constable was insinuating that if I meekly and subserviently accepted this ticket and mailed it in, he would have given me a less stiff penalty.
At this point I should say I am a staunch supporter of the police and the difficult job they do. I recognize that anyone can be having a bad day. I also recognize some cops(very few) are on power trips.
Almost three months later I finally have my first go-around with the crown. They offer me a plea deal. Reduced fine, 2 demerit points. I waited in line for three hours in the crowded lobby of the Canmore court house to hear this.
No deal. I want to plead my case in front of a judge and take my chances which I think are pretty good. I believe my quick actions prevented an accident. I plead not guilty and a trial date is set for Dec 15.
What would you have done?
What do you think the outcome was?
How do you feel about The Letter of the Law vs The Spirit of the Law? Does it apply in this case?
Standing by your principles can be frustrating, time-consuming, expensive, and you could catch a cold from all the sick people around you.
Now, I’m just waiting for one of my smart-alec friends to suggest that they lock him up and throw away the key 🙂
If anyone can guess the outcome, I will bestow upon you the King Solomon award.
5:57 pm: I’m changing into my ski clothes now and heading over to the nordic centre to work off some of this energy. I will be back to read your comments(and verdicts) later.