A Saskatchewan judge, on the road to begin a summer vacation, is being credited with helping police track down and ticket a dangerous driver.
Gerald Morin, a provincial court judge based in Prince Albert, was travelling on Highway 3 west of the city on Aug. 14, 2009, when he noticed another vehicle being driven in an erratic manner.
Morin's encounter with the driver of a red Volkswagen Jetta was laid out in detail in a judgment recently published on the legal database CanLII — the Canadian Legal Information Institute.
According to the case, Morin — who testified in court proceedings against the Jetta driver — saw three examples of dangerous driving.
On two occasions, he said he witnessed the driver pass another vehicle in an unsafe way. He also saw the Jetta veer into the wrong lane of traffic repeatedly.
"He became quite alarmed and remembers exclaiming to himself, 'My God'," the trial judge, Ysanne Wilkinson, said in her decision. "[Morin] was concerned the manner of driving might cause someone to get hurt."
The judge called police from his cellphone, using a hands-free attachment, and reported what he saw, including a description of the car and a licence plate number.
Morin also told the 911 operator that he was a judge.
An RCMP officer pulled over the Jetta further down the highway and asked the driver if he had been drinking or was tired and was told "no."
With that, the officer contacted the judge and said there was no drinking involved.
Morin insisted on making a formal complaint and with that the officer issued the Jetta driver a ticket.
The driver fought the citation but the trial judge found his version of events did not add up.
"The defendant denies outright that he was engaged in any form of erratic driving and says he did nothing wrong," Queen's Bench Judge Wilkinson wrote. "He argues that because the complaint happened to be initiated by a provincial court judge, enforcement officers gave the matter unwarranted significance and attention."
'It is the quality of evidence that prevails, not a person's particular station in life.' —Trial judge Ysanne Wilkinson
Wilkinson, however, said Morin's testimony was "clear, concise, detailed and persuasive."
"The defendant's was not," she added, "and was pieced together after the fact."
Wilkinson also said the fact that the key witness was a judge had no bearing on the matter.
"In the end ... it is the quality of evidence that prevails, not a person's particular station in life," she said.
The Jetta driver was found guilty of driving without due care and attention. The judgment did not reveal how much he was fined.