Opinion: Pictured but not exactly taken


There’s good news out of North Vancouver for all the dogs that were discovered standing next to a pile of demolished burgers, their fur covered in mustard.

Or little kids holding hockey sticks in the living room whose parents walk in to see a broken vase on the floor next to one of those hard orange street hockey balls.

As far back as I can remember, the laws of the land would apparently have been unequivocal in cases like this. That dog and that destroyed barbecue tray, that child and those flowers sitting in a wet puddle on the carpet – that was more than enough evidence to arrive at a guilty verdict in those cases, and offer a proper punishment. obedience training or shock collar or whatever. And the dog could also be punished.

But it seems the rules of “Yeah, this guy is definitely guilty” are changing. At least that’s how I read a story written by Brent Richter and published in the North Shore News.

This is a story about, of all things, photo radar.

And I have to admit, I never knew, or forgot, that photo radar tickets were a thing here in BC.

But I know all about photo radar, thanks to my upbringing in small town Alberta. For reasons I still don’t quite understand, my small hometown of 13,000 people had its own police. And this police force installed photo radar to keep all street racers at bay. Of course, it was a small town in Alberta, so there was no real need for photo radar. Everyone drove their car like it was a tractor, and to be fair, a lot of cars were tractors.

But that didn’t stop the cops from planting photo radars on the city’s only main street and handing out tickets to people traveling 56 kilometers per hour in the 50 km/h zone in front of the Bonanza. And the photo radar wasn’t automated, it was a woman – Barb, maybe? – sitting in a van parked on the side of the road.

That’s not how it works in North Vancouver now. There is a photo radar station built into the red light camera at Capilano Road and Marine Drive. And it’s a pretty basic concept – if you drive well over the speed limit, it takes a picture of your license plate and you get a fine, but no penalty points. Sounds simple enough, if perhaps a little overbearing.

But a recent case has raised some interesting questions about how much evidence is enough for a fine like this. A driver successfully challenged his fine after seeing the image captured by the camera.

Was there a question about the car? No, not really – he owned exactly that make and model. And the license plate? Was there a chance that the numbers and the letters were different? No – it was an exact match.

So what was it? How did he throw it away?

The driver argued that the BC flag in the image – something that would confirm it was a BC license plate – was “too indistinct”, and the judge accepted by throwing away the ticket.

And I have to say – I like the boldness of this one. Yes, I have a car like that. Yeah, I have this exact combination of letters and numbers on my license plate. But are you sure it’s my car? Are you sure you are sure?

Reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Bart makes a brief appearance on the Krusty the Clown TV show, stumbles on his way to the stage, and every studio backdrop, prop, light, and speaker crashes on the ground. And what does Bart say?

“I did not do it.”

What does that mean for this dog covered in mustard? “Well, those burgers clearly had ketchup on them too, but is there ketchup in my fur?”

Or that child standing next to the puddle of sloppy flowers? “Mom, are you sure this is your vase?” I seem to remember that your vase was all in one piece, but this one has 457.

Hey, it’s worth it. And if mom doesn’t buy it, it looks like you can go to court now and have a judge overturn your punishment and take that shock collar off.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to convince my wife that it wasn’t me who left the beard all over the bathroom sink. Where is the proof?!

Andy Perst is the sports and reporting editor of the North Shore News. His lifestyle/humor column is broadcast every two weeks. [email protected]

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