Takhar says drivers must still pay red-light tickets, despite court overruling system

TORONTO, (Oct. 14, 2004) — A recent Ontario Appeals Court ruling has deemed the red light camera system in Southern Ontario invalid, but the province’s transportation Minister says drivers who receive tickets should pay the fine anyway.

Harinder Takhar says the Kitchener, Ont. ruling — in which a judge ruled the cameras violate the Highway Traffic Act — is simply an isolated case, and warned drivers who get such tickets not to ignore them.

But the court ruling now sets a precedent that threatens to throw the province’s red-light camera system into disarray, some defence lawyers suggest. In fact thousands of pending and future charges could be affected, Canadian Press quotes one attorney as saying.

The cameras snap a photo of the licence plate of a vehicle that enters an intersection after the light has turned red. The registered owner of the vehicle, whether he was driving at the time or not, is then sent a $190 fine in the mail.

The judge threw out the case because the cameras fail to clearly show the date, time, and location of the infraction.

Takhar said he would pave over the judicial speed bump by making the photographs easier to read, either by fixing the cameras themselves or amending provincial regulations so the code used to denote information on the pictures can be understood.

Takhar denied the system faces disarray, saying that drivers upset about tickets would have to challenge the charge in court, one by one.

Red-light cameras are used in Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa and Peel and Waterloo regions.

— from Canadian Press

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