February 23, 2016 (TORONTO) -- The fact that five of eight Uber drivers charged by Toronto Police last March have still not received disclosure of the evidence raises serious doubts about whether the Police and/or the Prosecutor’s office are seriously intent on prosecuting these charges, says Harvey Spiegel, Q.C. legal counsel for the Toronto Taxi Alliance.
On January 22nd, Gerald Chan, the drivers’ lawyer informed the court that five drivers had not yet received disclosure documents from Toronto prosecutors. The prosecution gave no reasonable explanation for the failure. The court agreed this was an inordinately long period of time to provide disclosure in a case like this.
“’Disclosure’ in this type of case is as simple as preparing a short synopsis of the police evidence, photocopying supporting documents, if any, and sending them to the defence lawyer,” Spiegel, a retired Superior Court Judge points out. “I cannot think of any legitimate reason why this was not done months ago.
“I understand that the charges against three of the drivers have already been dropped because of the prosecution’s failure to make timely disclosure. If the prosecution delays much longer, the remaining cases will likely meet a similar fate.
“When the Toronto Police Services were are asked why they were not laying more charges against UberX drivers they said they were awaiting the outcome of the pending charges. Frankly, this doesn’t make any sense. Do you stop laying charges against impaired drivers because some persons are contesting similar charges?
“Moreover, at the rate that the pending charges are being prosecuted, it is doubtful that that there will be ever be a disposition on the merits. Will the TPS then say there is no point in laying more charges because these were thrown out?”
The case against the Uber drivers charged is scheduled to be back in court on February 24th at 9 a.m. at “N” Court (Old City Hall, 3rd floor). Court schedules may be impacted by an inside workers’ strike.