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November 26, 1997
REPORT CONDEMNS GOV'T FOR MISMANAGED MILLIONS
By JEFF HARDER - Queen's Park Bureau
TORONTO - Criminals, students and dangerous drivers are benefiting from government mismanagement, auditor Erik Peters says in his 1997 report.
The 315-page value for money review found growing backlogs in provincial court, hundreds of millions of dollars in uncollected traffic fines, overdue student loans and a high-cost young offender system that can't measure its worth.
There are more than 70,000 court cases that have been delayed beyond the eight-month Askov limit, which puts them at risk of being thrown out due to unreasonable delay. The Askov ruling saw 50,000 cases tossed out in the early '90s when the NDP were in power.
Peters told a Queen's Park news conference that provincial courts are more congested now than they ever were under Bob Rae's NDP.
"Yes, the number has increased," he said. "The number is staggering. They have to come to grips with the situation."
When an offender does get to court and is hit with a fine, there is no guarantee the government will collect the penalty, Peters found. Fines of $316.5 million have been sitting on the shelf for as long as two years without any collection effort, he stated. Peters said high-speed drivers and other lawbreakers are rarely pursued for the cash.
"I have met people that think it is a badge of honor to amass parking and speeding tickets," he said.
Management Board chairman Chris Hodgson, who oversees the provincial Central Collection Service, said he is trying to fix the problem with privatization.
This is a very typical example of how the media conveniently lump "dangerous drivers" and "high-speed drivers" together into one group. This is how most people get brainwashed into thinking that exceeding a stupid speed limit makes them a criminal. From this news article we can draw some conclusions:
To give you a picture of how clogged up the courts are, reported by a helpful reader of this page, all the courts in big metropolitan cities like Toronto have cases backed up for up to 15 months. In the Scarborough courts, they are throwing out all the minor speeding charges, and only try the more serious offences such as leaving the scene of an accident, driving without license/insurance etc. Even the cops are told not to bother to show up for speeding cases and they can't claim overtime pay. Courts in smaller towns obviously don't have this problem (yet!), but we've got to try as hard as we can to jack up the cases those courts have to handle. Please tell your friends to fight their speeding tickets especially if they are in Toronto. It's a sure win situation.
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