Hands free driving case back in front of a judge

The argument over what constitutes “hands-free” driving in the Yukon continues.

The argument over what constitutes “hands-free” driving in the Yukon continues.

The case of Ian Pumphrey and his $287 ticket was appealed to the Yukon Supreme Court yesterday.

In January a Yukon territorial court judge threw out Pumphrey’s ticket saying that, since the Yukon didn’t have the necessary regulations in place, his unique set of circumstances meant there was reasonable doubt.

Pumphrey insists that he pulled over and stopped to answer the phone, put in on speaker mode and then tucked it behind his ear before he started driving again.

Territorial court judge Donald Luther encouraged the Yukon government to create the regulations to close the loophole.

Instead, the government appealed the decision.

In court yesterday, government lawyer Karen Wenckebach told Supreme Court Justice Leigh Gower that the court should look at the ordinary meaning of “hands-free.” She argued that it was “absurd” to think that someone would consider something being used between your shoulder and your ear as being “hands-free.”

Pumphrey, who is representing himself in court, countered that the whole appeal was ridiculous.

He said it was not good governance to appeal something as small as a traffic ticket instead of just fixing the problem with regulations.

There “seems to be a culture in this government to appeal any decision that goes against its wishes,” he said, pointing to cases involving the Peel watershed and the Ross River Dena Council.

“Now it’s come down to summary conviction tickets.”

Pumphrey asked the judge to order the government to pay him up to up to $7,200 in costs for the time he has spent working on the case.

Gower reserved his decision.

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