Winnipeg woman upset over no show of officers in court
WINNIPEG -- A Winnipeg woman feels she has not has her proper day in court over her texting while driving ticket.
Christina Trachenko challenged a ticket in court and wanted to question the officers who claimed she was on her phone.
However, that never happened.
The officers weren't present because of a change to the law that says they don't have to.
Some say this is taking away the right to question an accuser.
Trachenko was pulled over in Osborne Village for texting and driving and she couldn't believe it.
"I was like, 'My phone was in my pocket, like it was under my seatbelt'. I was like, 'There's no way'," said Trachenko.
So early this year she decided to challenge the ticket in traffic court, as she believed it might have been a case of mistaken identity.
"It's another 2017 blue Honda Civic, Humane Society license plate. It even shares some of the digits of my license plate."
When she showed up to court she expected to see the officers who stopped her, but instead, there was just a piece of paper known as a certificate of evidence, which details the officer's version of events.
"The certificate of evidence counts as their evidence, which is just a piece of paper that the officer's signed saying their side of the story."
The legislative change that came into effect in 2017 was designed to cut down on a backlog of cases and police overtime.
Len Eastoe of Traffic Ticket Experts said, while people can request an officer to testify, there is no guarantee a court will allow it.
"It basically takes away the right of the person, the individual to question their accuser," said Eastoe.
Trachenko lost in court and was denied an appeal.
She feels a chance cross-examination could have changed the outcome.
"The law is not supposed to be there to make the officer's job easier. The law is supposed to be there to find the truth of the situation," said Trachenko.
The legislation says the court retains the power to require the officer to attend if that is necessary to decide the matter fairly.
Eastoe said it's best to seek legal advice, specifically in a case like this, he said someone might want to consult a constitutional lawyer.