Ontario street racing rules upheld
Appeal Court says judge erred in finding stunt driving regulation unconstitutional
The Ontario Court of Appeal has overturned a lower court ruling that found the street-racing section of the province's Highway Traffic Act was unconstitutional.
The Crown won its appeal Thursday of an Ontario Court of Justice ruling that overturned the guilty verdict against 62-year-old Jane Raham last September. It found the speeding regulation she was accused of violating unconstitutional.
The Oakville woman was charged with driving at a speed of 131 km/h in an 80 km/h zone. Raham had testified in a Napanee court that she sped up to pass a large truck.
Driving more than 50 km/h over the speed limit, which the law refers to as "driving stunt," violates the province's Highway Traffic Act.
The Court of Appeal ruled that Judge Geoffrey Griffin erred in finding the regulation unconstitutional because it doesn't require that the person accused of speeding have criminal intent, making a conviction virtually automatic.
The Appeal Court set aside Raham's acquittal but ruled that in the interest of fairness, she should have the chance to put forward a defence based on a due-diligence argument at a new trial.
A due diligence defence on the stunt-driving charge amounts to a claim that the defendant took all reasonable care to avoid committing the offence.