In the Provincial Court of British Columbia
(BEFORE G. HAYES, JUSTICE OF THE
July 19, 2001
PART II - EVIDENCE
Witnesses for the Crown
by the Disputant††††††††††††††††††† 6
Witnesses for the Disputant
by the Constable††††††††††††††††††† 9
PART III - EXHIBITS
PART IV - JUDGMENTS
Reasons for Judgment††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 11
Reasons for Sentence††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 12
Youíre David Bedford?
Yes, I am.
And youíre here because of a ticket, AF02903129?
This is an allegation of failing to signal a lane change, contrary to s.
151 of the Motor Vehicle Act.† You
understand the charge on the ticket?
Yes, I do.
And youíre ready to deal with it today?
Yes, I am.
Now, you have two plea options.†
You can enter a plea of not guilty.†
We will have a trial.† I will
hear all of the evidence from both sides.†
Then I will come to a decision.†
If youíre acquitted, thatís it, you just leave.† If youíre convicted, then we talk about
whatís a reasonable amount of fine and what would be reasonable time to pay.
†††† The alternative to the not guilty
plea is enter a plea of guilty with an explanation, simply wanting to relate to
the court what were the circumstances, what is your financial situation, and
asking the court to consider reducing the fine accordingly and/or time to pay.
†††† So, those would be your two
options.† Any questions, or do you
simply wish to enter a plea?
I simply wish to enter a plea.
THE COURT:† And whatís your plea?
THE DISPUTANT:† Not guilty.
THE COURT:† Have a seat, then.† Weíll
hear the evidence from the officer first.
GOLDIE, a witness called on behalf of the Crown, being duly sworn, testifies as follows:
THE DISPUTANT:† Objection, Your Honour.
THE COURT:† Yes?
THE DISPUTANT:† I can assure the court that there are no
Gods involved, there are no Gods, and that God is not on his side.
THE COURT:† Yes, Iím aware of that.† Probably
through practice and tradition, most of the enforcement officers swear on the
Bible.† Some even will only swear on a
certain Bible, and some will only swear on certain chapters of the Bible.† There are officers who simply affirm.† That is, they promise to tell the truth on
their own oath.† Itís my practice to
offer to either the officer or the person who wants to be a witness their
choice, to promise to tell the truth on their own oath or to swear on the Bible.
†††† Where the court can accommodate it, we
sometimes are able to allow for some other religious oath, whatever it is that
will bind the personís conscience.† The
old days, I think, the perception that a higher power will strike somebody
dead, or that theyíre going to suffer for eternity if they tell a lie under
oath, I donít think that carries as much force as perhaps it used to in years
†††† Whatís critical as far as the court
is concerned is that the person will take an oath, either by affirmation or by
religion, simply telling the court that they promise to tell the truth.
†††† If thereís evidence that they are not
telling the truth, whether they take the religious oath, or whether they take
the affirmation, theyíre still subject to the same criminal consequence.† The justice system is not going to wait for
a higher power to run its course at judgment day, whatever that may be in that
religion.† Whether you take your oath on
your own promise or whether you take it on a religious basis you would still
face the same temporal sanction under the criminal law.
THE DISPUTANT:† Your Honour, I object to the court
proceedings starting off with a lie.† It
is not ‑‑
THE COURT:† Well, what is ‑‑
THE DISPUTANT:† Itís not a good indication that this is a
fair trial if the witness starts off lying about there being a God and that he
swears to it.
THE COURT:† Well, I have some difficulty on the one hand.† I mean, I have personal beliefs that I donít
allow to interfere with performing the task before me.† I have to take some judicial notice that
even the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,
which is the supreme law of this country, makes a reference to God, whatever
that may be.
†††† If the officer prefers to take an
oath to promise to tell the truth on a religious basis, I canít deny him that
right, no more than I could deny you the right to refuse to take an oath on a
†††† If I had my way, my preference would
be every person, every witness would affirm.†
They would simply promise to tell the truth on their own oath.† But at present we have a dual system.
†††† I donít think getting into some
philosophical argument about whether God exists or does not exist really
undermines the fact that this officer, this person has taken the witness stand
in a court of law and has said they will tell the truth.
THE DISPUTANT:† Would you object to the witness also affirming?
THE COURT:† No, but I would only affirm the witness if the witness agreed to
also affirm because itís their choice, not the courtís choice.
†††† Officer, whatís your position on
whether you would also take an affirmation in addition to your original oath?
THE CONSTABLE:† I have no problem with that.
THE COURT:† Would that be satisfactory to you?
THE DISPUTANT:† Yeah, so far.
THE COURT:† All right.
GOLDIE, a witness called on behalf of the Crown, being duly affirmed, testifies as follows:
THE COURT:† All right.† Are you
THE DISPUTANT:† Yes.
THE COURT:† All right.† Now, when the
officer is done giving evidence you get a chance to ask him questions,
okay?† When the officer is finished and
youíre done asking him questions you can take the witness stand, if you wish,
and give me evidence on the oath of your choice, and if you decide you want to
do that the officer will get a chance to ask you questions.
†††† Now, before we go any further, were
there any other issues that you were planning on raising perhaps as should have
been preliminary motions, any constitutional arguments you want to raise, so
that we can decide whether the matter can go ahead now or whether it needs to
be adjourned to another date when thereís more time available to hear those
Iím wondering why this officer is bearing witness when this was not the
officer that served the ticket?
That would have to be a matter of evidence ‑‑
-- we would hear in the course of the trial.† Anything else?
All right.† So, weíll proceed
then.† Officer, go ahead.
Honour, right off the bat Iím going to ask for the courtís discretion on one
amendment.† The date was not the 17th
of April of the year 2000, it was the 16th of April.† So, before we proceed any further, with the
courtís permission Iíd like to have that amended.
All right.† Any objections from
you, Mr. Bedford?
No objections, no.
All right.† You understand the
fact that the amendment is made does ‑‑ it is an error.†
It is an error.
So, that does factor into the ultimate weighing of evidence.
It is in fact an error.
Okay.† The amendment is approved.
you, Your Honour.
†††† It was so long ago Iíve forgotten, I
donít remember saying whether Iím Constable Steven Goldie, G-o-l-d-i-e.† Iím Constable 31, City of Vancouver Police
Department, and was so employed and on duty the 16th of April of the
year 2000 and attached to the Traffic Enforcement Division.
†††† The event Iím about to relate to you
occurred here in the City of Vancouver, Province of British Columbia, and I am
refreshing my memory by the use of extensive notes I made with regards to this
If those notes were made at the time you may refer to them.
were made after the event, immediately after the event that Iím alleging.
You may refer to these notes for cross-examination if you wish.
Honour, on that date at 1242 hours I had occasion to be on duty, operating an
unmarked Vancouver Police Radar Car.† I
was in plainclothes, and I had occasion to be operating this vehicle eastbound
on Hastings Street in the 300 block.† I
was travelling amongst other vehicles when I was passed by a vehicle which was
a Ford product.† It passed my
vehicle.† It was travelling into the
number two lane.† And as it was in the
number two lane ahead of me, travelling into the 200 block of East Hastings,
the vehicle was immediately ahead of me, the operator caused that vehicle to change
lanes from the number two or the middle lane of the 200 East Hastings, and
there are three lanes westbound on Hastings, and he was in the middle lane of
that street in the 200 block.† The
operator of that vehicle caused it to change from the middle lane to the left
lane, or the number one lane.
†††† When the vehicle changed lanes from
the number two to the number one lane there was no signal,
or hand, from the operator of that vehicle.†
I then observed this vehicle pass a single vehicle that was travelling
in the number two lane.† The vehicle,
the Ford that had moved from the two to the number one lane then immediately
changed back into the number two lane from the number one lane.† There was no hand signal, there was no
electronic signal when it moved into the number two lane.
†††† As the vehicle was approaching the
intersection of Hastings and Main in the westbound direction the operator of
that vehicle then caused it to move from the number two lane that it was in
into the curb lane, and again there was no electronic signal and there was no
hand signal and I had an unobstructed view of the back of this vehicle and, in
fact, the whole vehicle, and I was paying particular attention to it because it
was somewhat obvious to me that this vehicle was working its way through slower
†††† When this vehicle moved into the
number three lane without signalling, that became three unsignalled lane
changes in the 200 block.† When this
Ford product came to the intersection the traffic light was red.† It was the first vehicle in the number three
or curb lane at the intersection of Hastings and Main and I was in immediately
behind that vehicle in the unmarked police vehicle.
†††† When the traffic light turned to
green the operator of that vehicle started up fairly quickly, in fact, faster
than the other cars, the cars that were stopped in the one and two lane.† It travelled through the intersection and
then went on the other side of the intersection in the 100 block of East
Hastings the operator caused that vehicle to change from the curb lane into the
middle lane or the number two lane and again there was no signal, electronic or
hand signal, whatsoever, from the operator of that vehicle, that being the
fourth unsignalled lane change Iíd observed from this vehicle.
†††† As a result, I activated the
emergency lights on the unmarked vehicle.†
The Ford product was pulled over to the curb.† Once the vehicle was over to the curb I exited the police
vehicle.† I was in plainclothes.† I approached the operator of that
vehicle.† I identified myself as
Vancouver Police.† I indicated to the
operator exactly why he had been stopped in terms of the number of unsignalled
lane changes, and I asked him for his driverís licence.
produced to me a valid and subsisting British Columbia picture driverís licence
in the name of David Bedford.† The
picture on the driverís licence was that of the operator.† The operator said to me he was David
Bedford, and I was satisfied by the likeness of the picture, which was that of
the person behind the wheel, that I was in fact dealing with David Bedford.
†††† Your Honour, having observed the
vehicle operated by this person in the 200 block of East Hastings make three
unsignalled lane changes and one more unsignalled lane change in the 100 block
of East Hastings I decided to issue a violation ticket for the unsignalled lane
change in the 200 block of East Hastings, that being the very first unsignalled
lane change that was made from the number two to the number one where the
vehicle was immediately ahead of me.† I
subsequently did that using s. 151(c) of the Motor Vehicle Act, fail
to signal lane change.† I used document
number AF02903129 for that section.† I
completed that document and I signed that document and I served an accurate and
true copy of that document on the operator and allowed him to proceed.
†††† Your Honour, it was a sunny day, and
all these events occurred here in the City of Vancouver, Province of British
Columbia.† Thatís the evidence on behalf
of the Crown.
Do you want to ask the officer any questions about anything that he told
the court in evidence?
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY THE DISPUTANT:
the time that you put on your lights to the time that you ‑‑ the
time that I signed the ticket, what was the duration of time that spanned?
donít keep track of it.† I could
estimate.† But you never did sign the
ticket, and I never asked you to sign the ticket.† So, maybe you perhaps mean served the ticket on you, from the
time I pulled you over?
time that you left ‑‑ left me, after you handed me the ticket, to
the time that you put on your lights.†
The time, chronologically, from the time that you had put on your lights
to pull me over to the time that you had handed me the ticket and walked back
to your car, what would you say the time lapse was?
Your Honour, I didnít make notes about it.†
I know that sometimes tickets take longer to write
people want to discuss things with you.†
But, generally, if somebody doesnít want to have a big conversation with
me, simply wants to identify themselves, sit there and wait for the ticket,
itís usually about 60 seconds, a minute.
Q††† Okay.† But you canít actually say ‑‑
canít actually say that, Your Honour.† I
can easily write a ticket and be gone in a minute if thereís nothing unusual
about the circumstances.
you left me did you realize I was talking to you?
A††† Oh, I
have left many people when theyíve been talking to me and itís possible.† I donít recall whether you were talking to
me, but itís quite likely you might have been talking to me and I usually donít
stay around for much conversation because it usually leads to problems.
Q††† Did you
stay around for any conversation?
I served the ticket?† Probably not.
you were serving the ticket?
while Iím serving the ticket Iím sticking around.
Q††† Okay.† Did you spend any time talking to me besides
the couple of questions for me producing the driverís licence?
told you, in the initial conversation I said ďVancouver Police.† Iíve stopped you for failing to signal lane
changes.† Iíd like your driverís
licence, please,Ē and other than then asking you, ďAre you who is named on the
driverís licence,Ē et cetera, after that, no, no conversation that I got into
or made notes of.
many ‑‑ was there another officer in the police car that you used
to pull me over with?
there was not.
you sure that you were in plainclothes?
and I know why I was in plainclothes. It was the† Sun Run day and I was in plainclothes for the Vancouver Sun
Run.† It was part of my assignment.
your plainclothes look like a police officer uniform?
at all.† Thatís why theyíre called
was ‑‑ so, youíre saying that there was not another person in the
police car with you?
A††† No, I
am not saying that.† You asked me if
there was another officer with me and my answer was no, and there was not
another officer with me.
Q††† Okay.† Was there another person in the police car
was a civilian with me, yes.
civilian.† Okay.† I donít think I have any further questions.
All right.† Officer, you can step
Thank you, Your Honour.
THE COURT:† Mr. Bedford, do you want to give evidence?
THE DISPUTANT:† Yes, I do.
THE COURT:† Come on up to the witness stand, please.† I take it that your preference is simply to
promise to tell the truth on your own oath, correct?
THE DISPUTANT:† Thatís correct.
BEDFORD, the Disputant, being duly affirmed, testifies as follows:
Thank you.† State your name and
spell your last name for the court record.
name is David Robin Bedford.† Last name
is spelled B-e-d-f-o-r-d.
Thank you.† Go ahead.
Honour, I was ‑‑ it was the Sun Run day.† I was travelling, like the officer said, along Hastings, and I
was ‑‑ I was driving into town to pick up a child from the Sun Run
who was leaving the Sun Run, and I was signalling as I was driving, and my ‑‑
well, like, I had noted that, the day before, that my signal was not working,
or was occasionally not working.† It was
sporadic, depending on what bump I went over, and this was only the driverís
side that I had noticed, anyway.
†††† And I tried to explain to the
officer, but he asked me very quickly, like rapid gunfire, ďTurn your left
signal on.† Turn your right signal on,Ē
and I did so.† He says, ďTheyíre
working,Ē and he handed me the ticket and he went back to his car and I was
still with my mouth open trying to explain to him that my signal was not
working on the driverís side.† And Iím
pretty sure he was wearing a uniform.† I
remember a uniform.† It was definitely
blue, navy blue pants, you know, dark ‑‑ dark blue pants.† He was wearing a black jacket.† I thought it was a uniform jacket.
All right.† Anything else you
want to add?
was another person in the car.† I
assumed it was
lady police officer but that assumption was incorrect, I guess.† And he seemed like he was in so much of a
hurry that, as you noted, the date was written incorrectly on the ticket.† He was in an extreme hurry.† And I did go home after ‑‑ well,
I paid attention to my signals for the rest of the trip and I did note that it
was not functioning during periods of the trip, and I did go home and I opened
my trunk up and on the ‑‑ on the passenger side there was a loose
connection with the ‑‑ with the wire end of the, what do you call
those plug-ins at the end of the wire, was ‑‑ wasnít properly
attached, I guess from my putting my daughterís drums in the car, one of the
drum cymbals, or something, hit it off, hit it loose.
Mm-hmm.† Anything else?
A††† No, I
donít believe so.
Any questions from the Crown?
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY THE CONSTABLE:
in your direct evidence you said I checked to see if your rear turn signals were
working, both of them; is that correct?
Q††† And I
did tell you they were working?
you did say that your left turn signal, the rear one, I imagine you meant the
rear one, there was some malfunction in it at some point, you were aware of
were you driving the vehicle that was malfunctioning or potentially
malfunctioning if it went over a bump?
I had to drive the vehicle that day and I intended to get it fixed.† It was a Saturday and that would be the day
that I would get it fixed.
in the end, in your own evidence, you said ‑‑
A††† And I
you did find what the problem was and fixed it?
and I did ‑‑ and I did fix it that day.
No further questions, Your Honour.
Step down to counsel table, please.
Anything youíd like to say in summary, Mr. Bedford?
No, I donít believe so.
All right.† The Motor
Vehicle Act is pretty straightforward.†
These are regulatory offences, theyíre not criminal matters.† What that means in simple terms is that the
Crown doesnít have to prove that you meant to break the law.† They only have to prove that whatever the
illegal thing is, that it took place.†
Lane changes, no signal.
canít argue that you didnít mean to break the law, but in most cases with one
of these regulations you can argue that you took all reasonable steps to
committing the offence.† Itís called due
in this case you were aware of some malfunction in the lights, that there was
some intermittent operation with the signals.†
I donít know what the timeline was, as in did you notice it at midnight
the night before and you had your commitments for the next morning?† Those may be factors that I will consider
when we discuss whatís an appropriate penalty.†
I am satisfied that the offence did take place.† I am going to enter a finding of guilt.
submissions from the Crown?
No, Your Honour.† Iíll leave it
to the courtís discretion.† Thank you.
So, now, Mr. Bedford, Iíll ask you become aware of the malfunction?
It was the evening before.
Late in the evening?
No, it was around dinnertime.
All right.† So, you didnít have
time to scoot to Canadian Tire or wherever and ‑‑
-- check it out?
I donít even know what hours theyíre open until.
All right.† Considering your good
driving record, and the fact that no speeding was alleged, and nothing was
alleged that relates to any unsafe operation of the motor vehicle other than
the signals werenít operative, Iím going to impose an absolute discharge.† There will be no fine.† Youíre free to go.† Thank you.