The days of photo radar in Manitoba may be numbered
WINNIPEG -- The days of photo radar in Manitoba could be numbered.
The Manitoba Court of Appeal is hearing a case on the legality of convicting the registered owner of a driving offence without proof they were driving the vehicle.
Raymond Bernier won the right to appeal a guilty charge for two photo radar tickets he received.
When a vehicle is caught by photo radar for speeding or driving through a traffic light, it is not necessarily the driver that pays the price.
"Under section 229 of the highway safety act if you are the registered owner of the vehicle you are deemed to have care, charge and control and anything that happens to the vehicle you can be held responsible for," said David Walker, who is a lawyer in Winnipeg.
Bernier felt that was against his constitutional right of being presumed innocent until proven guilty and he filed an appeal.
Bernier's lawyer, Markus Buchart said all the crown has to do is prove who owns the car.
"But that’s not necessarily the person who is really guilty," said Buchart.
Todd Dube, with Wise Up Winnipeg, said things need to change.
"Well in other cities, like I say, you don't mail somebody a $400 invoice that owns a vehicle because somebody took a picture of it. You have to issue that to the driver. If somebody runs a red light, you think you would want to issue that to the driver," said Dube.
Buchart said the argument was strong enough to go in front of three judges who will decide the outcome. If they win the appeal, he said a new precedent would be set.
"That means that some photo radar tickets, I don’t know the percentage, would no longer be issued because then it would require the crown to prove who the driver is and not the owner," said Buchart.
He added that it would be up to the judges going forward if it would include past offences. He said they have seven days to file the appeal which would start the process, which could take several months or longer.
The province said in late 2019 that it would review the photo enforcement system. A provincial spokesperson said on Tuesday that the government does not have an update.