Congratulations to Ana Chamgoulova on successfully overturning a deemed conviction for her client. Ana is an articled student at Acumen Law Corporation and she argued at the BC Supreme Court that a judicial justice unfairly denied her client, Aldo Junior Danny Grossi, an extension to dispute a violation ticket.
I commend Ana on a job well done and the facts of this case serve as a lesson on the importance of fully explaining yourself in an application to appeal a deemed conviction.
What is a deemed conviction?
A deemed conviction is when a court automatically finds you guilty of an offence. A court can give you a deemed conviction either if you do not dispute a violation ticket within 30 days, or if you do not attend a scheduled court hearing. If you fail to do one of these two things, a court takes this to mean you do not want to dispute the ticket and, therefore, plead guilty.
You are not completely out of options if you receive a deemed conviction, as we shall see in this case, however, it does make things more difficult.
Mr. Grossi received a violation ticket stemming from an accident. Two months after the accident, the police served him with a violation ticket for driving without due care and attention, using an electronic device, and an unsafe lane change.
Mr. Grossi tried to obtain disclosure from the police for the next six weeks to understand why the ticket was issued. Once he got the disclosure he was advised he would need to file an affidavit for a late dispute because the 30-day deadline had lapsed.
Mr. Grossi applied to extend the 30-day dispute period for a violation ticket. A judicial justice denied the application, so he missed the deadline and a deemed conviction was entered. The judicial justice denied his request for an extension on the grounds that he provided “no arguable defence” in his application to overturn the deemed conviction.
Ana Chamgoulova, on behalf of Mr. Grossi, argued that the refusal of the extension was unreasonable and should be set aside. She said he had a genuine intention to dispute the ticket before the deadline but could not do so due to the delays in the ticket being issued and the police handing over the disclosure.
The Supreme Court judge had to decide if Mr. Grossi’s application, contrary to the judicial justice, did contain an arguable defence. The judge concluded that it did because it stated the officer who issued the violation ticket did not see the accident and based it on the word of another driver involved in the accident. The judge, therefore, set aside the deemed conviction and ordered a date to dispute the violation ticket.
One important thing to learn from this is that it is important to fully explain your reasons and your defence in your application to overturn a deemed conviction. As Mr. Grossi found, judicial justices can deny your application even if you have a valid reason why you missed a hearing or a deadline to appeal.
If you want to appeal a deemed conviction, it’s important you get it right. That’s why it’s a good idea to get legal advice before doing so.
If you need help with a deemed conviction for a violation ticket, give me a call on 604-685-8889.