February 24, 2016 (TORONTO) – The Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) is appalled that charges laid against Uber drivers in March of 2015 have been delayed yet again with no trial date in sight.
On January 22nd, Gerald Chan, the drivers’ lawyer informed the court that five of the drivers not yet received disclosure of the evidence. In court this morning, the lawyer stated that while he had received preliminary disclosure he had not received the additional information he had requested. He provided no details of the information requested, nor did the prosecutor express his position on the legitimacy of the request. Instead the prosecutor consented to the defense request that these charges, laid in March 2015, be put over to April 6 together with a new batch of over 100 licencing by-law infractions charges recently laid against various foreign Uber companies.
“In my opinion, the way the prosecution is dealing with these charges raises vexing questions,” said Harvey Spiegel, Q.C. legal counsel for the Toronto Taxi Alliance.
- Why did it take more than 10 months to provide disclosure in a relatively simple case?
- Why did were the changes dropped against 3 drivers because of failure to make timely disclosure?
- Why has the prosecution not expressed its position on the defence request for additional information?
- If the request is legitimate why hasn’t it been complied with? If it is not, why have they not urged the court to set a trial date?
- Why have they agreed to bundle charges laid under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) in March 2015 with recent charges laid against Uber for by-law infractions charges in which the issues are entirely different and which can only lead to further delays?
“When the Toronto Police Services were asked why they were not laying more charges under the HTA against unlicensed 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? asked Spiegel, a retired Superior Court Judge
“Moreover, the way that the pending charges are being handled, 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?”
“If they were seriously intent on prosecuting these charges they would have been tried months ago," says Spiegel.