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1985 traffic ticket comes back to haunt Wasaga Beach man
Published Thursday, May 16, 2019 4:51PM EDT Last Updated Thursday, May 16, 2019 7:01PM EDT
An improper lane change that resulted in a traffic ticket 35 years ago has come back to haunt a Wasaga Beach man.
Ralph Corrente was shocked to find out that his licence had been suspended, without warning, for a 1985 traffic violation.
The 61-year-old had to dive into his memory to even recall getting the ticket. "It's wrong to come after someone after 35 years," he says.
Now his shock has turned to frustration after receiving the letter on Tuesday from the Ministry of Transportation stating his licence had been suspended on May 2nd.
He says he has no choice but to continue to drive, including a weekly trip from his home in Wasaga Beach to Barrie, with a suspended licence. "I have my wife who is ill, who I take to the hospital once a week. I got my mom, who is 85-years-old, who I take care of."
Along with the licence suspension, Corrente has to pay the original ticket fine of $70, which he did today at the courthouse, plus nearly $300 to renew his licence.
He says he plans to appeal based on principle. "This is absolutely wrong," he says. "It's frustrating. I was very young. I'm not denying that I did something wrong, but they suspended my licence with no warning at all."
X-Copper paralegal Stephanie Columbus says traffic violations do not have a statute of limitations. "Most of the time we find they recall that they paid it at the time, but of course, they don't have receipts so they can't prove it."
But Columbus says she has noticed a sudden influx of decades-old cases resurfacing. "The court system switched to a digital record-keeping system about 10 years ago, so whether things got lost in translation with that changeover, or what exactly is happening now, we don't know."
The Ontario Ombudsman, Paul Dubé, completed an investigation back in the fall regarding similar suspensions and called on the MTO to "overhaul the way it notifies drivers whose licences are suspended for unpaid fines" calling the process "unreasonable, unjust and wrong."
Mr. Dubé further recommended that Ontario bring back the suspension 'grace period' which existed until 1997.
For Corrente, the fine associated must be paid and processed, along with the reinstatement fee before he can legally get back behind the wheel.