Justice Randall Richmond.  Photo: Archives

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Justice Randall Richmond. Photo: Archives

The judge Randall Richmond of the Municipal Court of Montreal strongly criticized the use of license plate readers by the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) to hand in tickets sent by mail, reveals La Presse.

Many City of Montreal police vehicles are equipped with these automatic plate readers that identify nearby vehicles. The system, which makes it possible, among other things, to find motorists who have not paid their bills from the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ), reported nearly $ 5 million in fines in 2018.

In two decisions rendered before the holidays, Justice Richmond believes that one cannot rely solely on a technological tool to condemn people. Citizens cannot defend themselves adequately in these situations.

“It would be dangerous to have blind faith in the reading of a plaque by (the automated system) without confirmation,” Justice Richmond said.

“Unlike the causes of speeding where the speed is measured by a radar or laser device, there is no information on the device used, the qualifications of its user or a check of its condition the same day” , Justice Richmond continued.

“We don’t know if the device was approved or verified or if its operator was trained to use it. We also do not know what impact the rainy weather, wet pavement, and the presence of other vehicles on the road could have had. “

In his decision, the judge cleared the two motorists whose license plates had been picked up by the SPVM but who had not been apprehended by the police.