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N.S. speeding tickets may be invalid

HALIFAX, N.S. -- The legality of every speeding ticket issued in Nova Scotia since February was called into questio...


HALIFAX, N.S. — The legality of every speeding ticket issued in Nova Scotia since February was called into question last night before a provincial justice of the peace.

Halifax lawyer, Jim Spurr, says the province lacks the authority to collect the higher speeding fines brought in earlier this year because of a legal snafu.

In April 2001, Nova Scotia’s Tory government introduced dramatically higher fines for speeding infractions under the Motor Vehicle Act.

The government passed regulations establishing the higher fines last February but neglected to proclaim the law until April. Spurr, a former clerk of the executive council, argues that makes the law invalid.

“Regulations can only be enacted when there is a valid statute or law passed by the legislature,” says Spurr. “From February 2002 onward, the province has been acting under invalid regulations, in my view.”

If the law is declared invalid, Spurr says the province would have no choice but to refund the thousands of people who have paid speeding tickets since the regulations were introduced.

Justice of the peace David S. Johnson was clearly surprised by the argument and reserved decision until he had seen written arguments from both Spurr and the Crown. He has ordered the written arguments to be presented to him Jan. 22.


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