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Report: Ontario “Street Racing” Law Overturned

Napanee judge declares two-year-old law unconstitutional

 |  Sep 10 2009, 9:51 AM

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A judge in Ontario has overturned a charge of street racing against a grandmother from the city of Oakville (just outside Toronto), declaring that the law is unconstitutional. This ruling now opens the flood gates for others charged under the province’s “Street Racing” law to contest their charges in court. And there are a lot of others.

Two years ago the Ontario provincial government passed a law stating that anyone charged going 50 km/h (31 mph) over the posted speed limit would be labeled a street racer and would face a roadside license suspension for seven days, having their car impounded and face a possible $10,000 fine and jail time if convicted. Since the law was passed, over 15,000 people have been charged.

The judge ruled that the law was unconstitutional because it allows for jail time even though the speeder can’t fight the charges. To put it more simply, because the charge is based on undeniable proof from a police radar gun that the person charged was in fact exceeding the posted speed limit by 50 km/h or more, a conviction is automatic, thereby removing the possibility of a defense.

The case was brought to court by Jane Raham, who was clocked doing over 130 km/h (80 mph) in a 80 km/h (50 mph) zone, while passing a truck.

Despite the ruling, Ontario Provincial Police constable Dave Woodford said, “It’s business as usual,” declaring that his police force will continue to charge people under the law even though it has been declared unconstitutional.

We’re not legal experts, but that sure doesn’t sound like “the true north strong and free.”

The Ontario government has declared it will appeal the ruling.

[Source: London Free Press]

[Photo Credit: Canada.com]