Quebec could face class-action lawsuits over photo radar tickets
Two Montreal lawyers are pushing for class action lawsuits against the province of Quebec in the hopes of having hundreds of thousands of speeding tickets issued with photo radar evidence thrown out or refunded.
“We're claiming that the system set up by the government essentially tricked people into saying, ‘We have this super solid evidence against you,’” lawyer Joey Zukran told CTV Montreal.
Over the past eight years, Quebec has raked in more than $100 million from tickets issued through its photo radar program. But in November, a Quebec judge threw out a woman’s $1,100 ticket, stating in their ruling that photo radar evidence amounts to “hearsay” unless someone witnesses the infraction.
“By having this in writing, confirmed, it gives us the green light to move forward to obtain compensation for the citizen(s),” Zukran said.
Zukran has filed a motion for a class action lawsuit against multiple government bodies in Quebec in the hopes of securing compensation for roughly 400,000 drivers ticketed over the past three years, as far back in time as he is legally able to go.
Jamie Benizri, another Montreal lawyer, has also filed a motion to launch a similar class action suit.
“We've kind of opened the Pandora’s Box,” Benizri told CTV Montreal.
Since the November ruling, hundreds of photo radar tickets have been put on hold to be studied on a case-by-case basis.
“What I suspect will happen is that they’re going to be committing a lot more manpower and… team to these operations to ensure that they now satisfy certain criteria and that we don’t have the appearance of 'hearsay,’ which has kind of plagued the whole photo radar campaign,” Benizri said.
“That’s great for all future tickets,” Zukran added, “however, you have six years, and in our case, based on prescription, three years where we can go back to make the claim for all those that have fell victim to this system.”
The lawsuits, however, won’t be speeding through the courts. Both lawyers expect that it will take a year before a judge even decides whether or not to give the class actions the green light.
With files from CTV Montreal