Frequently Asked (Legal) Questions

The Self Defense and Legal Support committee of the CLAC has received a
lot of questions in the last month, so we thought we'd answer these (often
recurring) questions and publish them to better share more useful
information.

Note that our members are neither lawyers nor members of the Barreau du
Québec. The basic advice provided in this FAQ is intended for general
information and is based on our research and experience of state
repression and its judicial circus.

The situations in which we have to face these attacks are all different
from each other, and considering all the special nuances we strongly
advise you to use multiple sources of information before you embark on
these legal battles..

If you have a question to submit to this FAQ, please contact us at
defense @ clac-montreal.net and we will respond as soon as possible.

Last update : 30-08-2014

Table of contents:

How do I challenge my ticket?
What can I do if the thirty day period has passed and I still have not challenged my ticket?
How do I postpone my hearing?
How do I prepare my case?
Is the P-6 bylaw being challenged in court?
Do I really need a lawyer to contest a ticket?
Is the ticket for minors the same amount as for adults?
There is a mistake in my address; is my ticket still valid ?
What is a class action?
I want to take part in a class action; how can I participate?
What happens if I do not dispute my ticket?
Is there a class action underway for P- 6 arrestees?
Several months ago a police officer told me I would get a ticket by mail, but I still haven't received anything. What should I do?
What is the difference between a class action and collective defense ?
If there is a written error on my ticket (eg signigificant dates or times, the exact location of the kettle, your first name/last name etc) is it still valid ?
How can I get my own trial suspended pending the result of the constitutional challenge of the P6 bylaw?



How do I challenge my ticket?

  • On your ticket, check “non guilty” in the appropriate place.
  • On the back , there is a space where they ask your version of the event. Do not write anything other than "I demand full disclosure of the evidence.” To describe the situation would only help the crown attorney build a case against you.
  • We recommend making a copy of the form before sending it in.
  • Send the ticket by mail to the Municipal Court of Montreal or in person at one of the Montreal service counters (see their website for addresses). As a precaution, it's a good idea to keep a record of sending the form if you choose to send it by mail. If you submit the form in person, you will receive a "receipt " of your dispute.
  • You have 30 days to challenge your ticket from the day you receive it.


What can I do if the thirty day period has passed and I still have not challenged my ticket?

As the bureaucracy is slow and most of the time the tickets are not yet entered into the computer system after 30 days, it is possible to challenge the ticket after the deadline . You must call the Registry of the municipal court with your ticket number the folks there should be able to tell you if you can contest your ticket.


How do I postpone my hearing?

If you receive a court date which you can not attend for various reasons (travel, important appointment, etc.) , it's possibe to have it changed. Call the Registry of the municipal court as soon as possible to request another date be set . However, you must have a reason the court will take seriously to be given another date. You might even have to present yourself before a judge in court to to explain your reason. The date that you received in your notice remains valid until a judge accepts your change of date. Not attending a hearing without good reason may lead to further proceedings without your presence.


How do I prepare my case?

  • Immediately after the event, write your story in a very detailed manner in order to refer back to it during your trial, which could take place several months or even years later.
  • Find good credible and reliable witnesses who will testify for you. Make sure you have a way to contact them.
  • Try to find video or photographic evidence. You must find the original (no youtube videos) and the owner who will testify that the images in evidence belong to them.
  • If you're not comfortable or know very little about legal procedures, the Educaloi site can help you understand the process:
    http://www.educaloi.qc.ca/en/capsules/contesting-ticket
    There is also the site of the Quebec Bar which offers free advice on how to represent yourself in court:
    http://www.fondationdubarreau.qc.ca/publications/index.html guides.


Is the P-6 bylaw being challenged in court?

Julien Villeneuve (aka Anarchopanda) is currently challenging the recent amendments to P-6, which are the provisions on masks and routes of demos. Another constitutional challenge was filed on November 22nd 2013 by Jaggi Singh, challenging Article two of P6 (the unlawful assembly provision which is used most often by the SPVM). A pro-forma for this challenge will be on February 19, 2014, room 1.10 of the Municipal Court of Montreal, at 2:30pm.


Do I really need a lawyer to contest a ticket?

Nope. You can represent yourself by making sure you have the best possible evidence (photos, witnesses, video) and by writing your version of the facts as soon as possible to avoid forgeting anything (remember, the process can take several months!). The website Educaloi has clearly laid out steps about how to challenge a ticket:
http://www.educaloi.qc.ca/en/capsules/contesting-ticket
The Quebec Bar website also offers legal guides (in french) to self-representation:
http://www.fondationdubarreau.qc.ca/publications/index.html


You can also get in touch with the Self Defense and Legal Support committee of the CLAC ( defense@clac-montreal.net ) for more information or support.


Is the ticket for minors the same amount as adults?

According to the Criminal Code , a fine cannot exceed $100 plus costs for people under 18 years of age.


There is a mistake in my address, is my ticket still valid ?

Yes, it is still valid and it is your responsibility to correct it by calling the Registry of the municipal court. It's the same when moving .


What is a class action?

A class action is a procedure that allows a person to act as a representative on behalf of all members of a group (without permission of the group) in a liability civil lawsuit in order to obtain compensation (usually money) . These are the people who were arrested and are suing the City for the actions of its police department. It is not a defense and does not interfere with the challenge of an offense (such as tickets) . It is a group action, but one or two people act as representative of the group: they are called the claimants . The lawsuit happens in their name.

Generally, there are three steps:

1 . Authorization

A class action must first be authorized by a judge. It is essentially a filtering step that determines whether the case is suitable for a class action, if the group is homogeneous enough and if the claimants represent the group well .

2 . The Group Definition

Once the class action is authorized, the judge defines a group of people who will be affected by the class action, the issues in duspute, and the conclusions being sought . The people affected are called group members . All group members are automatically part of the class action without having to register. The judge will also order the publication listed below.

3 . The case and judgment

Following approval, a judge will hear the merits of the case. The same judge may hear the authorization and the merits. You will be notified of the progress of the procedure on this list. A class action is a rather lengthy process, and you may have to wait several years before a judgment is rendered.

And ... if I do not want to join the group ?

After class certification, notice to members is published , usually in newspapers, to inform the use and terms of exclusion.

A person can therefore be excluded from the class action within the exclusion period if they want to be or if they prefer to pursue legal action against the defendant on their own. The excluded person can not benefit from the money paid to members of the group if the lawsuit succeeds.


I want to take part in a class action, how can I participate?

All persons described in the definition of each class action are automatically registered for it. There are therefore no fees, no forms to fill out and no one to notify in order to be part of it. It is still recommended to stay informed about the process to know how to claim your compensation if the class action is successful.


What happens if I do not dispute my ticket?

If no response is received from you after the 30 days, it is automatically assumed that you chose to plead not guilty. The case will be heard by a judge in court without you being notified. The hearing will be held in your absence and you will then be informed of the decision.


Is there a class action underway for P- 6 arrestees?

At the moment, to our knowledge, there are seven ongoing class actions relating to the P-6 bylaw. These are for people arrested at demonstrations on April 4th 2012, May 23rd 2012, March 15th 2013, March 22nd 2013, April 5th 2013, May 1st 2013 and June 7th. Only people who were detained in police kettles on the above dates are affected by these class actions.

On august 22nd 2014, the juge Sanfaçon fom the Superior Court of Quebec gave his authorization for the class actions for june 7th 2012, march 15th 2013, march 22nd 2013, april 5th 2013, may 1rst 2013 and march 15th 2014.

Full jugment here (in french) : https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B68BR0FYY4U6RXkwN0Q1am9yYXc/edit?pli=1

You can check the status of the cases on this site: http://services.justice.gouv.qc.ca/dgsj/rrc/Accueil/Accueil.aspx

Several months ago a police officer told me I would get a ticket by mail, but I still haven't received anything. What should I do?

You might have to wait up to a year to recieve a ticket because the police can take a year before registering their "pad" of tickets. You can call the Registry of the municipal court to monitor and ensure that you have the correct address. If you still have not received anything after a year, then congratulations, you will not get a ticket !


What is the difference between a class action and collective defense ?

A collective defense is when a group of arrestees decide together what strategy to use at trial . They can hire a lawyer, share costs or organize fundraising events to minimize the legal fees.

To arrange this, it is important to find a way to keep in touch with other arrestees. A mailing list usually works well, while facebook is not recommended for organizing a defense because confidentiality is not ensured . A meeting is set to decide whether to hire a lawyer or not, to view the evidence and to discuss defense strategies. You generally must make every effort so that everyone agrees with the decisions made. Disagreements or differing expectations can often end a collective defense.

A class action, on the other hand, is a procedure to gather a maximum number of legal claimaints to obtain monetary damages . It is a completely separate process from a defense in a prosecution. For example, it is
possible to be convicted of an offense, but still win the class action and get compensation for the damages suffered.



If there is a written error on my ticket (eg signigificant dates or times, the exact location of the kettle, your first name/last name etc) is it still valid ?

These are called clerical errors, and they are rarely fatal for the prosecution because clerical errors may be modified by the police after your plea of not guilty. Usually clerical errors do not change the offense. However, in some cases, if more errors were included in the statement and in the writing of the events in the police report, it may be possible to doubt the accuracy of the officer.



How can I get my own trial suspended pending the result of the constitutional challenge of the P6 bylaw?

If you recieved a ticket for the P6 bylaw on Article 2 ( unlawful assembly) , 2.1 ( route ) or 3.2 (mask) you could wait for the results of ongoing challenges before proceeding with your defense. During your next hearing date, you can simply ask the judge to postpone your trial to await the outcome of the constitutional challenges of Julien Villeneuve ( items 2.1 and 3.2) or Jaggi Singh ( Article 2).


If the judge refuses, you are still able to do your own constitutional challenge of the bylaw by making an application similar to those of Jaggi and Julien. They are:


To Article 2:
http://www.solidarityacrossborders.org/wp-content/uploads/RequeteP6JBS.pdf
Items 2.1 and 3.2:
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B2Sot5om4RWyVTRtZ1ktaEdzcmc/edit?pli=1


We have also prepared a constitutional challenge document that you just have to fill in. Make 5 copies to submit in court (one for you, the judge, the prosecutor, the clerk and an original). Normaly, thirty days notice before the beginning of your trial ( the "real" trial, not pro forma dates) is needed before the filing of a constitutional challenge. You can ask the document at defense @ clac-montreal.net


Sometimes the mere threat of such a challenge could trigger the judge to change their mind and accept a postponement of your trial pending judgments from Anarchopanda and Jaggi Singh's challenges. However, be ready to embark on lengthy and complicated procedures if you do file a constitional challenge. You have to be ready to defend the case thoroughly, as "bad" case law could be harmful to future legal challenges (like, for example, if several judges decide that P6 is constitutional) .


DISCLAIMER

Members of the Self Defense and Legal Support committee of the CLAC are neither lawyers nor members of the Barreau du Québec. The basic advice provided in this FAQ is intended for general information and are based on our research and experience of state repression and its judicial circus.


The situations in which we have to face these attacks are all different from each other, and considering all the special nuances we strongly advise you to use multiple sources of information before you embark on
these legal battles..

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