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Document the Scene

One of the most effective ways to counter a police officer's testimony is to create doubt about the reliability of what he said. This is introduced in detail in Step 5. The statement you have to counter is "the vehicle did not stop."

First, the statement is incorrect. It should be "I did not see the vehicle stop." This is a different assertion because it raises the possibility that the vehicle stopped but the officer did not see it stop.

Go to where the officer was positioned at the intersection. Do not stand there...crouch. Remember, he would have been seated in a cruiser and therefore lower than standing height. Look around. Did he have a clear view of the line, the crosswalk and the space before the intersection? Is it possible that you could have stopped at one of these without him seeing it?

Make sure you take pictures if there are any obstructions. And make sure you account for the weather, time of day and time of year: a clear day in February will have better visibility than a rainy night in summer when the trees are in full bloom. Make sure your picture reflects the situation on the day and time of your offence.

Examine the stop sign's visibility. It should be clearly visible from 60 metres away (See section 45 of Regulation 615). Does the road curve? Is there an advance warning "stop sign ahead" sign? Does the driver have enough opportunity to see the stop sign and come to a stop without hard/emergency breaking?

Look for anything that will cast doubt about the officer's ability to clearly see you stop or your ability to clearly see the stop sign. But remember, it must be convincing. In R. v. Bucknell, 2006 SKQB 141 the court ruled that the officer was stationed at the intersection for the specific reason of enforcing the four-way stop and was therefore in a position to see vehicles approaching. The court reached this conclusion despite video evidence from the defendant showing that the officer could not possibly see his vehicle from where he was positioned.

But in another case, R. v. Andrews, 2005 ONCJ 287, the guilty verdict was overturned because the trial justice did not take into account nor explain why he ignored the testimony of the driver and passenger that the vehicle did stop.

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