Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Judge Says Speeder Won't Lose Bike for Breaking 200 Km/h on Vancouver Island

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Judge Says Speeder Won't Lose Bike for Breaking 200 Km/h on Vancouver Island

Article excerpt

B.C. speeder won't lose his motorcycle


VICTORIA - A B.C. Supreme Court justice has turned down an application by the government to seize the motorcycle of a man clocked going more than three times the speed limit.

The decision is being lauding by the man's lawyer who said it could have been used as a precedent for the government to seize property for the simple act of speeding.

Jason Alan Dery was clocked driving his Ducati motorcycle at more than 200 kilometres an hour in a 60 kilometre-an-hour zone on July 2, 2011 while on a road near Victoria, B.C.

The director of civil forfeiture then took him to court in an attempt to seize the bike valued by the government at between $7,400 and $12,200.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Gregory Bowden said in a ruling posted online Friday he was unaware of any other reported decisions of a court in B.C. or another province that considered seizing such property for a motor-vehicle offence.

The majority of the cases cited by counsel were against property used for the cultivation of marijuana, he noted.

Bowden said while he didn't condone Dery's behaviour, the government didn't prove the defendant's actions amounted to dangerous driving under the Criminal Code or did it prove the bike was an "instrument of unlawful activity" under the Civil Forfeiture Act.

Barclay Johnson, Dery's lawyer, called the proceedings a "test case," and a victory for the government that would have set an important precedent for the Crown.

"This would have been the first case in British Columbia that would have given a green light to civil forfeiture proceedings for simple speeding," he said, adding the Crown rolled the dice and lost.

Johnson questioned using civil forfeiture laws to go after speeders when a mechanism exists through ICBC to deal with the issue. He said the focus should remain on the driver and not his property.

He said if somebody breaks a speeding law, the person should have to pay a fine, and if the offence is bad enough, their licence should be taken away, and in the most-severe cases a driver should face a life-time ban. …

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