Quebec has a disaster of a 'justice' system

After covering Quebec's extremely strict COVID lockdown, and being repeatedly ticketed while doing so, Yanky Pollak explains what dealing with the province's legal system has been like.

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Some might call it a “legal system” instead of a justice system, but on April 4, I spent another day in court fighting two-year-old COVID fines and COVID-related fines.

The first half of the day, I was in provincial court over my curfew tickets where not much was done; three curfew tickets were delayed until November 14 for a full day of trial. The “crime” in question is my work on the street, where I was doing journalism covering Quebec's strict curfew. Five others will have similar trials, where they're seeking to have these charges thrown out over unjustified delays, what's known as a Jordan motion.

After lunch, we went to the municipal court, where I learned the verdict on four tickets I was issued during the curfew. The judge there chose to believe the police officer over my testimony in three of the four cases. The one win I got here was because I was able to prove I had a rental car that did not have a modified exhaust, as the officer was asserting I was loudly revving my engine.

We are looking into appealing this decision but we haven't decided yet on that.

After that, I had a final trial for improper cellphone use, a ticket I got after being stopped by a police officer and filming him.

In this case, my argument was that the cop told me to stop, and that was a lawful order so I had to stop. Since I was told to stop, it was a legal place to stop for me. So I was allowed to use my phone in this instance.

While the prosecutor tried arguing that isn't the case, the judge said “Not guilty” and explained why I was right to film the officer, noting that he understands police don't like to be filmed but that isn't a crime.

This two-year-old saga of covering the curfew isn't over. I am proud of the work I did, and would do it all over again if something like this ever happened again — the only difference is I would have more lighting and cameras, maybe.

To the police officers watching this video: you should be ashamed of yourselves for how you acted during the curfew.

I won't be deterred. I am proud of the work I did, and this travelling back and forth, in and out of court, has only made me a stronger fighter for freedom! See you back in court in November!

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