Imagine if your rights to defend a traffic ticket in court could be taken away by the government simply by changing the wording from “offence” to “administrative penalty”.
The Ontario government is considering changing the court system that deals with traffic tickets to a system called AMPS (Administrative Monetary Penalty System). There doesn’t need to be evidence given in court by the police; only time, date and location and the offence you are charged with. Your guilt is presumed and the Charter of Rights doesn’t apply because for example the stop sign charge is no longer called an offence but rather an “administrative penalty”.
The penalty $$$ will go to the Municipality who employs the “Screening Officer” that decides your guilt. That officer is someone you never meet but rather deal with online and he is paid by the Municipality.
Here are the proposed changes:
In the current system:
• You are protected by the Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
• You are innocent until proven guilty.
• You are charged and tried based on facts and evidence.
• The Crown and the charging officer MUST present enough evidence to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
• If there is not enough evidence to convince the Justice of the Peace, you are found not guilty, because the Crown and the Officer MUST do their jobs. COMPLETELY.
• You are allowed to present your case, and argue the evidence against you, including questioning the charging officer and any witnesses.
• The Justice of the Peace is employed by the Province, not the Municipality.
• You have the right to an Appeal where a second Judge reviews the evidence and process of your trial and ensures that no errors were made.
In the AMPS system:
• There is no OFFENCE, and so the Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms DO NOT APPLY.
• You are presumed guilty, with no evidence of your guilt.
• The Screening Officer will review your story, online, and will assume that the offence was committed as presented on the Administrative Notice.
• You will present all of your testimony and evidence online, in a standard questionnaire, you will not have a chance to face and question your accuser OR their evidence.
• The Screening Officer is employed by the Municipality WHO REAPS THE BENEFIT OF FINES PAID.
• You have the right to an online written Hearing, through the same process, with a Hearing Officer who is also paid by the Municipality.
So in other words you lose the right to present a proper defence, to question the police officer that charges you. They don’t NEED ANY evidence to convict you. All of the tools that are in place now that paralegals use to win you case will be taken away as will your rights currently to be presumed innocent and protect your families insurance rates from becoming completely unaffordable.
There is no information suggesting demerit points and convictions on your driving record won’t remain the same. It’s simply not addressed in any information provided so far. This new system is one-sided, unfair and certainly unconstitutional. Please go to the link provided and sign the online petition against this cash grab. Your rights are at stake!
*Big thank you to www.moepa.ca for the information contained herein