Kingston, Ontario (PRWEB) May 10, 2010
Aitken Robertson (http://www.fightthecharges.com), an Ontario criminal law firm that specializes in helping clients fight impaired driving and stunt driving charges, has opened a new law office in downtown Kingston, Ontario. A long established Ontario legal practice and a leader in the legal defence of criminal driving charges, the law team of Aitken Robertson has been working from their Peterborough, Ontario office for several years, successfully defending clients charged with serious driving offenses from Toronto, Oshawa, Lindsay, Peterborough and Coburg. Located at 904 Princess Street, the Kingston law office of Aitken Robertson will serve clients living in the Eastern Ontario communities of Belleville, Napanee, Trenton, Brockville and Kingston. Aitken Robertson's new Kingston law office, like their busy Peterborough office, will specialize in providing legal representation to clients charged with DUI or other serious criminal driving offenses, such as stunt driving.
Working from Aitken Robertson's new Kingston office and practicing criminal law with an emphasis driving offences will be Lavina Inbar B.A., M.A., J.D. A recent member to the Aitken Robertson legal team, Ms. Inbar is a graduate of the University of Toronto and articled with the HIV/AIDS Legal Clinic in Toronto. In recent years, Ms. Inbar has taught law at Durham College, Trent University and Fleming College in Peterborough. Previously, she spent a number of years in various organizations helping the less fortunate, first as a mediator for the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, then with Durham CAS and finally with the Durham Legal Clinic. At the Aitken Robertson Kingston office, Ms. Inbar will be representing clients facing serious criminal charges, including driving under the influence and stunt driving charges.
"Stunt driving, which is punishable by a fine, jail or both, is a serious offence under Ontario's Highway Traffic Act. It came into force in 2007 as part of the Safer Roads for a Safer Ontario Act and creates a different offence from simply speeding. The term stunt driving is misleading, because to be charged, you don't have to be doing anything stunt-like, you just have to be driving 50 km per hour over the speed limit. If you are doing 49 km per hour or less, you would be charged with just speeding. If charged with stunt driving, you are liable to a fine between $2000 and $10,000 and/or jail up to six months. Your driver's license may be suspended for up to two years on a first conviction and for up to 10 years on a subsequent conviction. As well, you must surrender your license to the police at the scene, you get a seven-day administrative license suspension, and your vehicle is impounded for seven days at your cost," states Lavina Inbar.
"Recently the Court of Appeal of Ontario heard a challenge to the constitutionality of the stunt driving law. The issue was whether stunt driving is an "absolute liability" offence. For regular offences, you are presumed innocent, the onus is on the Crown to prove guilt, which includes proving intention and if the Crown cannot prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, the court must acquit. In other words, you have the opportunity to show evidence to raise a reasonable doubt. However, in an absolute liability offence you are guilty regardless of intention, negligence or even reasonable mistake of fact. Simple speeding is an absolute liability offence. If you are caught speeding, you will be found guilty and there is no defence. Something in between regular offences and absolute liability offences is "strict liability". In a strict liability offence, similar to an absolute liability offence, just being caught doing the act means, at first blush, that you are guilty, however, (unlike in absolute liability) you can raise a defence of due diligence by proving that you took all reasonable care in the circumstances or reasonably believed in a mistaken set of facts or took reasonable care to avoid the prohibited act. An absolute liability offence that provides for jail as a penalty will generally be found to be unconstitutional under s. 7 of the Charter and therefore of no force and effect. A strict liability offence, on the other hand may have jail as a penalty and not run afoul of the constitution. In this appeal, the position of the respondent, Jane Raham, was that the stunt driving law was an absolute liability offence and therefore unconstitutional. Raham, a 62 year-old grandmother, was clocked at 131 km per hour while passing a transport truck in an 80 km per hour zone. Justice Griffin of the Ontario Court of Justice in Napanee overturned her original guilty verdict, holding that the offence she was charged with was an absolute liability offence and as the offence was punishable by imprisonment, it was contrary to s. 7 of the Charter and unconstitutional. Raham was acquitted. The Crown appealed and won. The bottom line is that the stunt driving law is a strict liability offence. Accordingly, the accused has the possibility of a due diligence defence, and therefore the law is constitutional. The Court of Appeal ordered a new trial for Raham to give her the chance to raise a due diligence defence," explains Inbar.
"We are extremely pleased to welcome Lavina Inbar to the firm. Her expertise in criminal law along with her experience mediating solutions and her ability to educate the other side of a dispute will be a great addition to the Aitken Robertson team. We are indeed fortunate to welcome such a distinguished lawyer to our practice and our new Kingston law office. Clients in the Kingston area requiring legal representation to fight impaired driving or stunt driving charges are in excellent hands," states Richard Aitken, Aitken Robertson partner.
Aitken Robertson, Barristers & Solicitors
263 Charlotte Street
Peterborough ON K9J 7Y4
904 Princess Street
Kingston ON K7L 1H1
Toll Free 1-800-668-1657
Peterborough 705 742-0440
About Aitken Robertson, Barristers & Solicitors: With a total of 45 years of combined legal experience, the Ontario law firm of Aitken Robertson, Barristers & Solicitors specializes in the criminal defence of drinking and driving cases and all DUI offenses. Aitken Robertson uses a unique team approach, offering clients individual attention, aggressive representation and a vigorous defence to achieve the best possible outcome. With offices in Peterborough and Kingston, Aitken Robertson offers free initial consultation and reasonable payment plans. For more information call 1-800-668-1657 or visit their website http://www.fightthecharges.com .
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