Ontario Criminal


Extraordinary Remedies

MANDAMUS
Justice had absolutely no business or jurisdiction to quash this certificate of offence

Regional Municipality applied for order of mandamus and certiorari against order of justice of peace quashing Certificate of Offence for failure to specify section of Highway Traffic Act (Ont.) (HTA) prohibiting offence of speeding. Certificate did allege offence of speeding 70 kms in 60 kms zone and that it was contrary to HTA. Justice of peace quashed Certificate of Offence because it failed to include section of HTA for speeding. No reasons for this disposition were recorded other than “no section number for offence.” Application allowed. Cursory internet or library search would have quickly cured this defect and accused was deemed not to dispute charge. Because justice of peace was dealing with this Certificate of Offence pursuant to s. 9(2) of Provincial Offences Act (Ont.) (POA) as result of this ademption, she was required to determine in her office without benefit of submissions from either side whether it was complete and regular on its face. Without benefit of any reasons, justice concluded that it was not. Despite this deficiency, it was evident that justice did so in face of not only compelling, but binding, authority to contrary. If justice was not aware of this authority, she should have been. Justice had absolutely no business or jurisdiction to quash this “perfectly good certificate of offence”. Case was yet another in long line of hyperactive and inappropriate interventions by justice of peace in this region and elsewhere in province that continually permitted form to trump over substance. These inappropriate interventions had not only created certain degree of chaos in Provincial Offences Court, they also displayed profound misunderstanding of role of stare decisis in our legal system. Once Superior Court has spoken on issue, lower courts are bound to follow those dictates whether they like them or not. This, of course, includes justices of peace of this province, especially so in context of their extraordinary ex parte deliberations exercised pursuant to s. 9(2) of POA where they enjoyed ungoverned and unobserved scope to quash proceedings.

York (Regional Municipality) v. Martinez (Oct. 29, 2014, Ont. S.C.J., McIsaac J., File No. Newmarket CV-14-117733-00) 117 W.C.B. (2d) 285.

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