A Whitehorse taxi driver successfully challenged a ticket he received for driving his cab without a mask.
Mohamed Abdullahi appeared in the territorial court on May 25 to argue against the ticket he received under the Civil Emergency Measures Act (CEMA). CEMA is the legislation the Yukon government uses to enforce COVID-19 regulations.
The court heard from Adam Fredericks, who was acting as a CEMA Compliance Investigator when he gave Abdullahi the ticket on Jan. 6.
From the witness stand, Fredericks explained that he and another compliance investigator were driving north on Fourth Avenue in Whitehorse when they saw Abdullahi make a left turn onto a side street and noted that he was not wearing a mask and had someone in the rear of the vehicle.
Frederick said he and the other investigator made a note of the cab’s identification number and contacted the company’s dispatch to identify the driver. He said Abdullahi was called back to the company’s office and issued him the ticket there.
Abdullahi told the court that he was using the taxi to drive a member of his family to their home when Fredericks spotted him. He said he owns the vehicle and uses it personally, including for driving his family around when he is not using it for work. He also said he had notified his dispatcher about the pickup and that he was nearing the end of his shift and had driven fares earlier in the day.
Appearing without legal representation, Abdullahi said the legislation was unclear and asked the judge to dismiss the ticket.
Crown Counsel Ryan Wiens said the definition of taxi set out in the legislation is clear and the rules set out in the legislation are important because taxis are high-traffic areas with lots of people coming and going. He submitted that it was irrelevant who Abdullahi was transporting and the rule about masks is important for the sense of security of those using the taxi.
After hearing the evidence, Justice of the Peace Sharman Morrison adjourned proceedings after the trial on May 25, deferring her decision to June 1.
At the June 1 court date Morrison accepted Abdullahi’s uncontested evidence that the taxi was in use as a personal vehicle, and so fell outside the definition of a taxi set out in the legislation, at the time he was seen without a mask. She dismissed the ticket.
Contact Jim Elliot at firstname.lastname@example.org