Morally Innocent

Step 5 explains the different types of offences that exist. Parking infractions are strict liability charges. It is highly probable that your justice will incorrectly consider your offence an absolute liability charge.

You must dissuade him/her from drawing this wrong conclusion. In R. v. Sault Ste. Marie, 1978, the Supreme Court stated that all charges are to be considered strict liability charges by default unless there is evidence to suggest otherwise.

R. v. Kanda, 2008 examined the language of Ontario's provincial legislation to determine the category of charge. Nowhere under the Highway Traffic Act or the Provincial Offences Act is there any wording excluding the possibility of a due diligence defence for a parking infraction offence. This means morally innocent people should not be convicted for an offence they did not intend to commit.

For example a reasonable and prudent person would have checked the street for signage whether parking was permitted on the street. You can argue that you did this but did not see the sign. You would never park illegally. Perhaps the sign was covered by a tree branch or blocked by a large truck. Perhaps other cars were parked on the street so you though it was safe to do so in the absence of any other visible signage.

This is a due diligence defence. You took steps that a reasonable and prudent person would do to park legally on the street. You did not park out of convenience or because you could not be bothered driving around the block. You parked there because you thought you could park there. You are not arguing that you did not see the sign. You are arguing that you are morally innocent because you did not see the sign.

Here is another example. Some municipalities have two or three hour parking time limits on all streets unless otherwise stated. In Mississauga, the signs are clearly posted at the driving entrances to the city. In Toronto, the three hour limit is not posted at all entrances to the city and is therefore unenforceable on the morally innocent who would have no way of knowing about this by-law.

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