Montreal

Quebec court decision means thousands of photo radar tickets could be tossed, lawyer says

A Quebec court decision this week in which a justice of the peace ordered a photo radar ticket thrown out calls into question the future of photo radar in the province.

'Evidence used in fixed photo radar cases is insufficent,' justice of the peace wrote

Justice of the peace Serge Cimon called Quebec's photo radar system 'inadmissible' and 'illegal.' (Radio-Canada)

A Quebec court decision this week in which a justice of the peace ordered a photo radar ticket thrown out calls into question the future of photo radar in the province.

The province, however, insists photo radar isn't going anywhere.

In a decision released Wednesday, Serge Cimon called the current photo radar system "inadmissible" and "illegal."

Lawyer Nicolas Rousseau, representing a woman challenging a photo radar ticket of $1,160, successfully argued that relying on images and data from a fixed photo radar machine alone is not enough to justify a ticket.

A fixed photo radar camera clocked her going 141 km/h in a 70 km/h zone on Highway 15.  

She received the ticket later in the mail.

"The judge ruled that the way provincial police systematically process such tickets is wrong, and he called on authorities to fix it," Rousseau told CBC News.

Cimon ruled that a real person must provide evidence that the machine is in working order, and that there's proper signage in the area.

In his decision, Cimon wrote, "The prosecution can consider this a formal notice that evidence used in fixed photo radar cases is insufficent."

Government might appeal decision

Rousseau said that doesn't mean that all photo radar tickets are suddenly invalid.  

But he said this ruling creates a precedent that could see thousands of people successfully challenge photo radar tickets.

Speaking to reporters at the National Assembly in Quebec City Wednesday, Transport Minister Laurent Lessard said photo radar is designed to make roads safer and it's "here to stay."

Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée said the government is reviewing the decision and may file an appeal.

She reminded reporters that the law allowing the permanent installation of photo radar and red light camera technology was endorsed by the provincial legislature in 2012.

Plans to expand the program were announced in 2015.

with files from The Canadian Press

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