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  1. #1
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    Hta

    ok i'll try this question .this is just a general question..the Highway traffic act is a set law ,but is it open to Interpretation ?
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  2. #2
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    Well I will agree with you, that is definitely a general question! I will try to answer this as best as I can.

    I think I can best explain this by using some examples. Interpretation is applied to all laws, some more readily than others, sort of subjective reasoning. This interpretation can be at the level of the front line Officer, based on his education and experience. It can be at the level of the Prosecutor or a defence counsel or paralegal. It can also be at the ultimate level, which in the case of Provincial Offences Court is the Justice of the Peace. Example one, the provisions of Sec 128 of the Highway Traffic Act clearly state the laws as they apply to rates of speed. Not much to interpret there (although even with this section, there can be interpretations made at higher levels of Court jurisdiction). Example 2, Sec 32(4) of the Liquor Licence Act explains in what manner an unsealed container of liquor must be transported in a vessel. It must be in "a closed compartment". What is a "closed compartment"? An Officer might deem that a cooler is a closed compartment, another might not. Some vessels are constructed differently than others. This would be an Officer's interpretation. It could be based on direction from their local Prosecutor, or a decision handed down from a Justice of the Peace. In this case, the ultimate decision lies with the Justice of the Peace, and in each jurisdiction.

    I think in fairness, there is interpretation with EVERY law, that is why we have Courts, Lawyers etc.

    Folks, don't confuse this with "discretion", this is something completely different. To use one of the examples above to explain discretion, I'll use the speeding section. If you are travelling at 1 km/h over the speed limit, you are speeding according to Sec. 128 of the Highway Traffic Act. This is where discretion comes in to play, as you don't hear of too many people being charged at 1 km/h over. COULD you be charged? According to the law, yes.

    I hope this has answered your question, I know it was a little long-winded, but I tried to simplify an answer which is actually quite complex.
    Last edited by ON OFFroad; 06-01-2012 at 03:04 PM.
    Opinions expressed are those of the author, accuracy of information posted cannot be guaranteed. These opinions in no way represent the OPP, any other Police Department or Police Officer.

  3. #3
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    no problem i does work for me ..just like i thought it would be ...thanks for the answers

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    Quote Originally Posted by Piratexpress1369a View Post
    no problem i does work for me ..just like i thought it would be ...thanks for the answers
    My pleasure Pirate....

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