If you have ever been conscious during the medical procedure requiring you to lay on your side, pull your knees up to your chin, wearing a gown split down the back, while two pimple faced students and three very attractive nurses gather around your exposed posterior for a colonic experience, you will have the emotional understanding of what it is like standing in front of a Justice at Provincial Court.
The Summary Office 373 Broadway Ave. in Winnipeg is the place to go for appealing a photo radar ticket that captures a picture of your car doing 46 km in a 30 km school zone.
The intent of the trip to the court house was for a grovelling appeal of hope. The Manitoba justice system has provisions for a driver to appeal traffic tickets.
The results could be a dismissal of the fine, a reduction in the fine or full payment of the fine. Some may consider this a tale of folklore told by the brothers Grimm. Maybe a fable told by a pied piper or just the makings of an urban legend.
I tell no lie when I say that an acquaintance of mine freed himself of the burden of a $500 speeding ticket from the construction zone on Bishop Grandin, when he undertook the same quest. Being as guilty as pictured in the grainy black and white photo of the speed trap camera, yet receiving a pardon? Could this be true?
On a day off from toiling in my eight to four job, I rode the city transit bus to a docket destiny. The trip could change the outcome of my $259 speeding ticket.
I was pessimistic with my feeling of hope. As a taxpayer I hoped the provincial government would keep its promise and not raise the provincial sales tax. Government bureaucracy and hope should never come together in the same sentence.
Standing before the Justice I stated my name for the record. The robed official indicated from behind his computer, that I was pleading guilty to the speeding offence. I asked if I could offer an explanation and requested that the court consider leniency. Pleading guilty to the ticket with an explanation, provides the same level of comfort as when the doctor holding the colonoscope says, “Relax.”
As I offered my story of contrition, I couldn’t help thinking that the noble Justice might have heard the story of an unfamiliar neighborhood, visiting a sick friend and no previous offences from other remorseful lips.
My plea was heard with what appeared to be some understanding. Accepting responsibility, being distracted and a clean driving record didn’t excuse speeding in a school zone. The Justice levied a fine intended to send a message as well as cover court costs.
He asked if I needed some time to make payments? If not, the monies could be delivered to the clerk’s desk downstairs. I was dismissed.
I failed in my request to have the clerk move the decimal point to the left one place, when she entered the numbers corresponding to my fine. That simple error would reduce my fine. To make restitution, I inserted my credit card in the point of sale terminal and entered my pin. The transaction settled my account with the province.
I said thank you to the group of three brown shirted sheriffs sporting bullet proof vests manning a desk at the door. I exited the building with a somewhat different perspective.
I started out frustrated at having to go to court on my day off. I was even less understanding thinking about the reason for the ticket. 46Km is far below speeding! My vehicle cruise control won’t engage at less than 50Km. My 53 year old leg will need surgery to shorten it, if I am ever going to maintain the new school zone speed of 30Km.
After my visit I felt lucky to live in this country. I respected the wonderful gift I was granted in being given the chance to have a day in a court.