A Spruce Grove man says he has spent at least 10 hours fighting speeding violations he did not commit.
Zachary Kendrick's licence plate was stolen in 2014. He reported the theft to police, registered a new plate and thought the issue had been dealt with. Then he started getting speeding tickets in the mail.
To date, Kendrick says he's received 15 speeding tickets because of the stolen plate. If he wants to avoid paying the fee, he has to drive from Spruce Grove to Edmonton to clear his name in court.
"I'm frustrated. I'm being punished for a crime that I didn't do."
The 22-year-old visited provincial court in Edmonton for the third time Wednesday. He stood in line four times, waited an hour to speak to a judge and swore on the Bible he's done nothing wrong.
"Weren't you here yesterday?" one clerk asked.
One ticket overlooked
Kendrick had cleared five tickets at once the day before, but says a sixth one had been overlooked. That's why he had to make another 45-minute drive to Edmonton.
More than an hour after arriving at the courthouse, Kendrick spent just two minutes talking to a judge. He was supposed to appear in court on Jan. 14, but says he missed that date because he couldn't get time off work.
"When you get a ticket, you come to court," the judge said before striking the ticket from Kendrick's record. "You can't just set it aside and hope that it goes away, but I'm going to cut you a bit of slack."
As Kendrick left the courtroom, he shook his head. He says he shouldn't have to come to court in the first place.
He tried to have the stolen licence plate removed from his record at a registry office, but says staff told him there was nothing they could do.
"They all just told me that it's an unfortunate situation," Kendrick says. "I'm starting to feel hopeless, that there's nothing more that anyone can do, and I really just wish the issue could be resolved."
Issue should be resolved: lawyer
Paul Moreau, an Edmonton lawyer, says the issue should have been resolved already.
"I don't know what else a normal person would be expected to do," he says. "It sounds like he's done everything right."
Moreau advises Kendrick to go back to the registry office to ask for a supervisor. He suspects "there's a flaw in the system or someone hasn't done their job, or possibly both."
After Kendrick revisits the registry office, Moreau says he should also go back to the police station.
"This stolen plate of his is rolling around the city on a car and somebody's got it and there are pictures being taken of it, so the police should be made aware of that situation."
Kendrick says a prosecutor told him the stolen licence plate number — BGK 9416 — is being used on a grey 1998 GMC Sierra 1500, the same type of pickup truck Kendrick used to own.
Use anti-theft screws to deter theft
Service Alberta also recommends using anti-theft screws to prevent another licence-plate theft. The special screws are free at all Edmonton police stations.
"If an individual receives a ticket associated with the stolen plate, they should call the number on the back of the ticket and provide the police file number to the representative to have the ticket waived," Cheryl Tkalcic, a spokesperson for Service Alberta, wrote in a statement to CBC.
Kendrick says that's exactly what he did, but that he was told the issue couldn't be handled over the phone. He now plans to go back to a registry office to have his name cleared for good.