Fight the Fines case #6 — College freshman skateboarder fined for using empty skate park

Not such a great skate in Pickering thanks to the fine-loving #coronavirus cops…

Meet 18-year-old Liam Dowd of Angus, Ont. A few weeks ago, he was in Pickering, Ont., to pick up his T4 from his former place of employment. As he waited for his dad to do some grocery shopping, he saw a skateboard park nearby and decided to have a bit of fun.

Skate park not taped off

It should be noted that the skateboard park wasn’t taped-off with that now du rigueur amber-hued police caution tape you see in just about every playground in our great dominion. Nor was there any signage indicating the park was off-limits. So Liam started doing his thing on the halfpipe.

And then, just like that, not one, not two, but three (THREE!) Pickering bylaw officers seemingly emerged out of nowhere. It was as though they were laying in wait, hoping to ambush someone out for a little fun. And yes, one officer had his ticket book out and he promptly presented young Liam with an $880 fine! (Incidentally, the irony was both profound and perverse: given the proximity of the three bylaw officers to one and other, they were the ones who were NOT practicing social distancing that day. But I digress…)

Ticket issued by three bylaw officers

But why did they have to give a teenager such a whopping fine? Surely the role of bylaw and law enforcement during this global pandemic is to educate, warn and disperse those who are breaking bylaws.

Surely the fining provision should be the last resort. Or are certain municipalities looking upon this global pandemic as a means for revenue-generation? If so, talk about insult to injury.

No warning before $880 fine given to student

Especially for someone like Liam Dowd, who is a first-year college student who cannot get a full-time summer job thanks to the Wuhan virus (he is currently working only eight hours per week at a local grocery store.) Liam told me:

“There is no way I can afford to pay this off.”

I didn't think I was doing anything against the law. I want to plead ‘not guilty’, but it requires me to go into the courthouse to do so. Are the courts even open? Do I have any options?”

Yes, Liam, you do have options: our superb criminal lawyer, Sam Goldstein, has agreed to take on Liam Dowd as his latest client in our Fight the Fines campaign.

To help support our campaign and to find out about more cases, visit FightTheFines.com.

When things get back to normal, justice will be done.

After all, enough is enough already!


  • By Ezra Levant

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