Ontario Stunt Driving

The Ontario government plans to appeal a ruling that said some parts of the province’s street racing laws are unconstitutional.

Attorney General Chris Bentley said the province doesn’t believe the law goes against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“From time to time you get decisions that are ones that you wish to appeal, and we’ll be seeking leave to appeal this one,” he said, calling the legislation an important public safety initiative.

“It’s important that people understand that in the meantime, the provisions are still in effect and the police can still lay charges,” Bentley said.

Judge G.J. Griffin of Napanee, Ont., overturned the stunt-driving conviction of Jane Raham, a 62-year-old grandmother from Oakville, who was charged with stunt-driving for going more than 50 kilometres an hour above the speed limit while passing a tractor trailer.

Raham had testified that she had sped up to pass a tractor trailer, when she was clocked going 131 kilometres an hour in an 80-kilometre zone.

“I didn’t feel such a severe punishment should be brought down on me for that amount of speeding for just a few seconds as I passed the truck and I was totally in shock because they were being so harsh,” Raham told reporters.

Griffin said in his ruling that he overturned the conviction because under the absolute liability law, once the offence is proven by facts, the accused can’t bring forward a defence.

Under the stunt-driving law, a speeder can be jailed for up to six months without being able to fight it in court. Judge Griffin ruled that convicting someone who is “morally blameless” for an offence that carries a jail sentence is a breach of the Charter.

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