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Man who says he held cellphone for 10 seconds, using it for navigation, fined $275

Klause was spotted by a police officer on a motorcycle who “observed that the driver had a cellphone device in the right hand held above the centre console.”.
Klause was spotted by a police officer on a motorcycle who “observed that the driver had a cellphone device in the right hand held above the centre console.”. Paul Chiasson / The Canadian Press

A man who says he was holding his cellphone “for just 10 seconds” but not using it received zero sympathy from the court and a $275 fine.

In a recent ruling, Brenton Klause, a judge in Saskatoon provincial court, was found guilty of using an electronic device while driving through the Central Okanagan.

The online court document states Klause was travelling from Victoria to Saskatchewan and that he planned to overnight in Kelowna.

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According to the Sept. 18 court document, Klause’s travel plans included shopping for antiques at Value Village locations in Kelowna and West Kelowna.

While driving through Kelowna on April 19, 2018, and travelling eastbound on Harvey Avenue near Richter Street, Klause was spotted by a police officer on a motorcycle who “observed that the driver had a cellphone device in the right hand held above the centre console.”

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The officer pulled Klause over, with the officer stating that Klause told him he “was lost.”

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According to a court document, Klause was using Google Earth for directions.

“The guy in front of him slammed on his brakes, his phone slid out,” said the court document. “He lifted it up to put it back in the slot. That is when the officer saw him.

“He said he was not texting or communicating with the device. He said he touched the phone and put it back in its slot. It might have been 10 seconds.”

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The court document stated that in cross-examination, the officer’s evidence mainly came from his notes.

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“The officer was asked if he would agree that Mr. Klause was not communicating via the device and he said he could not speak to the actions in relation to the device, but it was held in his hand,” said the court document.

“There are no notes of Mr. Klause texting and no notes of Mr. Klause’s lips moving. It was in Mr. Klause’s right hand above the centre console. He did not have any notes or recollection of a cord or of the device being plugged in. He did not see the vehicle — or it was not in his notes that he saw the vehicle ahead of Mr. Klause slam on his brakes. The vehicles were stopped in traffic.”

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Judicial Justice Brian Burgess wrote that Crown had met the burden of proof and found Klause guilty. Specifically, Burgess noted that when a cellphone is used for navigational purposes, the device has to be securely fixed to the vehicle, which it wasn’t.

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“As I understand Mr. Klause’s evidence, it was not secured to the motor vehicle as when he had to abruptly apply his brakes, the device slid from where it was requiring Mr. Klause to pick it up,” Burgess said in his ruling.

“So simply having it in hand, even momentarily, is holding it in a position which it may be used. Operating a device for navigational purposes, it must be securely fixed to the motor vehicle and was not.

“Based on the evidence before me, Crown has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt and I find Mr. Klause guilty of this offence.”

Notably, Klause told court that he travelled from Saskatchewan to attend court.

For more on the court ruling, click here.

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