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Supreme Court hears case of woman fined, arrested for not holding escalator rail
The Supreme Court of Canada heard a rather unusual case Tuesday.
It started with a woman who received a ticket in the metro, for refusing to hold the hand rail while on the escalator back in 2009. She protested, was arrested, and now - after a decade of fighting - her case is being heard by the highest court in the country.
Bela Kosoian says she wants justice, and isn’t giving up easily in her fight against the STM and Laval police who confronted inside the Montmorency metro station.
When Kosoian protested after being approached by STM agents, there was an escalation. She was subsequently detained and fined $100 for refusing to hold the hand rail, as well as an additional $300 for refusing to provide identification to Fabio Camacho, the arresting officer.
Kososian beat the two tickets in municipal court, but felt the STM and the police officer should be punished for arresting her in the first place – so she filed a lawsuit against the police.
The lawsuit was tossed out of Quebec Court, and in the Court of Appeal - in part because Kosoian refused to cooperate with police.
However, the woman didn't give up, and brought her case to the Supreme Court.
The highest tribunal now has to hear arguments on whether or not police did their job properly when they placed Kosoian under arrest over a debatable offense.
The case was presented to nine judges and a handful of lawyers during a two hour hearing.
Lawyers have been asked to determine whether a pictogram indicating commuters should hold the rail is a precautionary measure, or an order according to an STM bylaw.
In the meantime, the pictograms are still in place.
That said, the debate at the Supreme Court has now shifted to police responsibility when it comes to application of a law that is not clear-cut.
The judges reportedly asked a number of questions on this topic, which Justice Clement Gascon described as the "crux of the debate."
It will likely take months to render a decision.