Suspected ticketed driver refuses to identify himself in court
'Suffice it to say, things started out badly, and it was all downhill from there,' said judge
A Nova Scotia man, who went to extraordinary lengths to fight a traffic ticket, has gotten himself in trouble with a judge.
Police ticketed William Albert Swallow back in June for driving without a licence.
He sent a notice to the provincial court in Pictou that he wanted to fight the ticket. His notice read, "I am the person named on this ticket."
"I wish to appear in court and plead not guilty to the offence and have a trial."
Swallow’s case came up on Wednesday. When court staff called his name, a man in the public gallery stood up and announced that he was before the court "by special appearance."
Judge Del Atwood made several attempts to have the man confirm that he was, in fact, William Swallow. The man eventually told the judge he was "Bill", and that was all he needed to know.
"Suffice it to say," Judge Atwood wrote, "things started out badly, and it was all downhill from there."
Judge Atwood ordered Bill be removed from the courtroom because he had become disruptive. The judge then called a five-minute recess.
As the judge was leaving the bench, Bill informed the court he was dismissing the ticket.
When the matter was called in court later in the day, no one answered, so an automatic conviction was entered.
"It is not lost upon the court that the obstructive individual before me yesterday might have been William Albert Swallow," wrote Atwood.
Atwood noted in his decision that identity isn’t usually a problem as most people appearing in court either identify themselves properly, or are known to the court.
"But what of self-litigants who are not known to the court, or, as in this case, persons who refuse to identify themselves?," he wrote.
Atwood has also taken steps to ensure this ticket doesn’t tie up court again.
The judge says any attempt to overturn this conviction must be done properly in writing and with proper government-issued photo ID or another document giving his full name, birth date and signature.