Traffic ticket-fighter to launch class-action lawsuit challenging photo radar ticketing

The founder of a Winnipeg-based anti-photo radar group says he's making moves to launch a class-action lawsuit by the end of spring on behalf of all individuals who received tickets based on photo radar evidence.

Founder Todd Dube hopes to file statement of claim by end of March

Todd Dube of Wise Up Winnipeg argues evidence from intersection cameras and mobile photo radar units alone isn't enough to support a traffic ticket in court. (CBC)

A Winnipeg traffic ticket-fighter says he's making moves to launch a class-action lawsuit by the spring on behalf of all individuals who received tickets based on photo radar evidence.

Todd Dube, founder of ticket-fighting group Wise Up Winnipeg, said he hopes to file a statement of claim by the end of March, arguing photo radar evidence used to support the tickets is hearsay.

"We would make one claim, in that all photo enforcement cases are not supported by proper evidence criteria," Dube said of the potential lawsuit.

"This program should have been challenged in this way years ago."

Last November, a Quebec judge ruled in favour of a driver who challenged a $1,160 ticket on the grounds information from a fixed photo radar machine is not enough to support a ticket.

In his ruling, Justice of the Peace Serge Cimon called photo radar evidence "hearsay" because no officer directly witnessed the violation.

A Montreal man is currently seeking permission to launch a class-action lawsuit similar to the one Dube has planned.

Legal action underway

Dube said he has already contacted legal counsel to prepare the action. They are still in the process of naming parties but he said the City of Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba will both be listed as defendants.

Dube said Wise Up Winnipeg had previously considered a lawsuit challenging photo radar technology, but the Quebec decision "compelled us to put it at the top of our list of things to do."

"We always thought it was most appropriate for this challenge to happen in Manitoba," Dube said, citing the age and size of Winnipeg's photo radar program, which was introduced in pilot form in 2001 and formally rolled out in 2003.

Dube and Wise Up Winnipeg have also criticized the city's Know Your Zone program and school zone speed limits.

Impact on tickets

The Quebec case applies specifically to intersection cameras, but Dube argues the logic can be applied to the mobile units, too.

He argues the operators in mobile units can't know for sure if their equipment is working and he doesn't think they always see the vehicles as they pass.

Dube said that if the lawsuit is successful, millions of dollars worth of traffic tickets might be thrown into question.

The City of Winnipeg has safety cameras stationed at around 50 intersections across the city in addition to 10 mobile units armed with photo radar equipment.

According to statistics on the Winnipeg Police Service website, the city's 10 mobile units issued more than 108,000 tickets in 2015. In that same year, intersection cameras captured more than 38,000 offences.​

With files from Steve Rukavina