This is the part where I complain about our “justice” system.
Today I must go pay a speeding ticket. Note: I didn’t speed. Wasn’t even my vehicle. However in the eyes of the law I am responsible. How does this work? It’s pretty easy really. What happened was, in July ’06, I sold my old pickup. It was on its last legs and no where near passing safety inspection. Got $500, more than fair, I thought. However! I made a very bad mistake. I forgot the plates on it.
Well I thought nothing of it until October. That’s when two speed camera tickets showed up in my mailbox, with the pickup on them. Yup, the lowlife that bought it had never bothered registering it (probably because it would have been far too much work to safety it – but you’d think he’d at least have gotten a “safety”) and had been driving it on my plates ever since. Now, you’d think that, because I’d cancelled the insurance, at the very least I would get a cop showing up wondering why the truck was driving uninsured. However this didn’t seem to be a concern of anyone’s. It was never mentioned. The only important thing was that the ticket got paid.
Now at first, when the Winnipeg speed cameras were implemented, the law was (quite rightly) that you were only responsible for the ticket if you were driving the vehicle at the time. This caused many problems with court backlogs and so on, and the tickets were not getting paid. So, the legislature had the brilliant idea of tossing ye olde outdated idea of “innocent till proven guilty” right out the window and changing the law so that the registered owner was responsible no matter who was driving. Note carefully: in Manitoba, convenience + revenue > justice.
I put in a not guilty plea, and they set court dates. For May and June ’08. (Yes, if you’re keeping track, that’s almost two years.) Got to the first court date, and was informed that a not guilty plea would never stick. So I pled “guilty with explanation” (which went very much against the grain, since the only conceivable guilt here on my part was forgetting my plates), and “got off” with the payment of court costs. In addition to almost an entire day lost wages of course. And then absent-minded-professor syndrome kicked in yet again and I forgot the second trial date. And if you don’t show up, the “trial will be held in your absence” in other words you are guilty full stop.
So that’s $247 down the drain, plus another hour lost wages because the courthouse where I have to pay keeps bankers’ hours, plus the depressing knowledge that in Manitoba, the government is only interested in their own convenience and revenue stream, and the notion of “what is right” is outdated and irrelevant.
Conclusion: absent-mindedness does hurt, sometimes. Never let anyone drive your vehicle, ever. Don’t go to Winnipeg if you can possibly help it. If you must go, exercise extreme caution at cameras. Remember, if someone rear-ends you it’s automatically their fault no matter the circumstances, but if you go through a camera you report only to the machine and the machine does not care.
EDIT EDIT EDIT!
Well, got to the courthouse, and proceeded to attempt to make the payment. The system kept giving some error (dunno what, just heard the standard Windows error ding over and over). Finally the secretary searched for it some other way, and found the ticket. Seems the case had been – dismissed!
Yay for saving $247. Actually, thinking about it, it’s a lot more than that that I saved. Would be around $100 lost wages, $50 court costs, $40 gas. Total saved = $437!! must go buy something, pronto.
All my points still stand!