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‘It wasn’t me’: B.C. court tosses appeal by distracted driver who claimed she wasn’t behind the wheel

A photo illustration of distracted driving.   .
A photo illustration of distracted driving. . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

A B.C. woman who tried to claim police couldn’t prove it was actually her behind the wheel when she was issued a distracted driving ticket has had her appeal throw out.

Emperatriz Cool was served the ticket on Sept. 1, 2018, in Richmond, but challenged it in first the provincial, then the B.C. Supreme Court.

In both cases, she argued that Crown had not conclusively proven that she was the one driving the car at the time.

READ MORE: Cup holder strikes again: 2nd B.C. driver slapped with distracted driving ticket

In her reasons for judgment, Madam Justice Nitya Iyer of the B.C. Supreme Court referred to lower court testimony by Const. Schmidt, the officer who issued the ticket. The officer’s first name was not included in the decision.

“I’m wearing my giant yellow safety vest. She did not look up or notice me as I walked around from the passenger side of the vehicle to the driver’s side of the vehicle around the front of the vehicle,” Schmidt testified.

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“So I walked around to the — around the front of the vehicle, went up to her driver’s window, knocked on the window. She still hadn’t noticed me until I knocked on the window. And then she saw me and she put her cellphone down right away.”

New B.C. numbers show distracted driving message still not resonating
New B.C. numbers show distracted driving message still not resonating

Schmidt testified he took Cool’s licence and registration right away, before directing her to pull over in a safer place.

But according to the judgment, Cool asserted that the officer hadn’t taken sufficient steps to positively identify her.

“Something more than just taking the licence and issuing the ticket” was required, she argued in court.

READ MORE: Police apologize, cancel B.C. senior’s distracted driving fine for cellphone in cup holder

Iyer rejected that argument.

Citing precedent from another case involving disputed identity, Iyer’s judgment noted that Const. Schmidt had, in fact, identified the distracted driver in the moment of the offence, when he handed her the ticket.

By virtue of being the person in possession of the ticket, Cool had, in essence, identified herself.