A B.C. Supreme Court judge has refused the province's attempt to seize ownership of a 2008 Ducati motorcycle clocked at more than 200 kilometres per hour in a 60 kph zone.
The B.C. director of civil forfeiture sought a court order, which was successfully challenged by Jason Alan Dery.
According to the ruling by Justice Gregory Bowden, Dery has 39 motor-vehicle offences since 1990, including five 24-hour suspensions.
On July 2, 2011, he was riding his Ducati 1098 motorcycle at 163 kph along Willis Point Road outside of Victoria before accelerating to more than 200 kph.
"Before it can be concluded, even on a balance of probabilities, that the offence of dangerous driving was committed by the defendant on July 2, 2011, all of the circumstances surrounding his driving, including the condition and use of road where the vehicle was operated and the amount of traffic at the time or that might be expected must be considered," Bowden wrote in his ruling.
The judge further noted: "The uncontradicted evidence of the defendant is that the road where he accelerated to about 200 kph was long and straight; the weather was sunny and clear with good visibility; the road surface was dry; there were no other vehicles on the road or in sight; there were no pedestrians on the road or in sight; and the Ducati was in perfect working conditions with brakes and tires that had recently been replaced."
As a result, Bowden concluded that "the evidence does not satisfy me that the speeding by the defendant on July 2, 2011, amounted to dangerous driving under s. 249 of the Criminal Code."
While it's true that Dery, a 40-year-old automotive-collision repair technician, was guilty of speeding that day, Bowden wrote that "no evidence was presented to establish that speeding, in and by itself, is likely to cause serious bodily harm to a person."
Dery paid $3,600 in additional fees and fines as a result of violating the Motor Vehicle Act.
Bowden noted that since then, Dery has taken "personal accountability" and has not had any speeding tickets.
"Further, he has never had an accident involving any of his motorcycles," Bowden stated in the decision. "This is supported by his most recent ICBC renewal notice which shows that he has earned a 43% discount on his vehicle insurance as a good driver."
The judge emphasized at the end of his ruling that his reasons should not be interpreted as him condoning Dery's behaviour—merely that it did not meet the legal test required for him to be forced to forfeit his motorcycle.
The director of the civil forfeiture office valued the motorcycle at between $7,400 to $12,200. Dery claimed it's worth $14,000.
According to the ruling, Dery also owns two other Ducati motorcycles, a 1997 Ford F150 truck, and a 2006 Dodge Sprinter van.