Family miffed after DDO appeals municipal court ruling over curfew
Published Tuesday, December 4, 2012 8:18PM EST
Dollard-des-Ormeaux is appealing a ruling over two $100 tickets issued to brothers for playing hockey after curfew, and the family thinks it’s a waste of taxpayers’ money.
Chris Guerra and his brother Daniel were caught by public security playing hockey past curfew a year ago at Ed Janiszewski Park in DDO.
“He wouldn't let us leave and he asked us for our drivers’ licences, so I gave (it to) him. I didn't know what was going on and 20 minutes later, he each gave us a ticket for being here,” said Chris.
The tickets amounted to roughly $100 each.
The teenagers decided to fight the city in municipal court.
“We're used to the lights just shutting off. Here, the lights stayed on, so we thought it was okay to keep playing,” said Daniel.
They also argued that the sign showing the closing hours was barely visible at night.
The two were acquitted.
Last week, however, the brothers received a notice telling them that DDO was appealing their acquittal.
“When I found out, I was so surprised,” said Chris.
Unfortunately for the hockey players, the city has the right to appeal a decision it doesn't like, just as most people can appeal court decisions.
Defence lawyer Charles Cote said the practice is very common.
“It's not to the advantage of the city to let a judgment stand against the city. They need the income from such tickets,” said Cote.
An appeal is costly and complex, putting the city at an immediate advantage, because most defendants don't have the means to hire an attorney for a $100 ticket.
The young men's mother Kim Mallette is furious at DDO.
“I think it’s ridiculous my kids are being taken to superior court for a ticket they already won in municipal court. It's an absolute waste of money, and taxpayers need to know about that,” she said.
Last week, Dollar Mayor Ed Janiszewski told CTV Montreal he believes the city's legal department overstepped its authority by appealing this case, and would urge its lawyers to drop it.
The case has not yet been dropped.