An Ontario street racing law hailed as the country’s harshest could be in limbo after a judge ruled a section of the legislation is unconstitutional because it can impose jail time even though the speeder can’t defend against the charges.
Judge G.J. Griffin of the Ontario Court of Justice in Napanee, Ont., overturned the conviction of a woman clocked at more than 50 kilometres per hour over the limit because the way stunt driving is classified means once the offence is proven by facts, it cannot be defended.
Street racers will still be charged under the stunt racing laws, but it will be now unconstitutional to convict someone on excessive speed alone unless the judge’s ruling is successfully appealed.
Attorney General Chris Bentley said the province will appeal the decision and doesn’t believe the law goes against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“From time to time you get decisions that are ones that you wish to appeal, and we’ll be seeking leave to appeal this one,” he said, calling the legislation an important public safety initiative.
The stiffer fines and automatic suspensions of driver’s licences were ushered in 2007 by former attorney general Michael Bryant, who has since left the government and is facing charges after a highly publicized incident that claimed the life of a bicycle courier.