Canada: ‘Very excited to get justice’: Calgary man’s SkyTrain fine cancelled after 14-month battle - - PressFrom - Canada
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Canada ‘Very excited to get justice’: Calgary man’s SkyTrain fine cancelled after 14-month battle

07:35  21 november  2019
07:35  21 november  2019 Source:   globalnews.ca

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a man wearing glasses: Karl Lusawovana Nunu shows the single-use Compass tickets he tried to use at Stadium SkyTrain Station last fall. © Global News via Skype Karl Lusawovana Nunu shows the single-use Compass tickets he tried to use at Stadium SkyTrain Station last fall.

After 14 months spent fighting what he felt was an unfair SkyTrain ticket, Karl Lusawovana Nunu has finally been vindicated.

The Calgary man's $173 fine for following his friend through a Compass fare gate in Vancouver — which he did after his valid ticket failed to scan — was thrown out Wednesday in B.C. Supreme Court.

"I was so excited about the news," Lusawovana Nunu said from his home in Calgary.

"I think justice has been served, and I am very excited to get justice."

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Lusawovana Nunu was celebrating a job transfer with a friend in Vancouver on Sept. 14, 2018.

He bought a fare at Columbia Station, but was unable to tap out properly at Stadium Station. After two failed attempts to tap the gate open, his friend opened it with his own Compass card.

A Metro Vancouver Transit Police (MVTP) officer immediately intervened, and ticketed Lusawovana Nunu, despite his attempts to explain he had a valid fare.

READ MORE: ‘This is not right’: Former B.C. man facing costly fight over SkyTrain ticket

Lusawovana Nunu made a complaint to MVTP, who investigated, but determined he had committed an offence.

That left Lusawovana Nunu with no other choice but to drive 10 hours from Calgary to Vancouver to fight the fine in provincial court.

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While the judge agreed he had a valid fare, Lusawovana Nunu was still found to have broken the law as written by following someone through the gate, and didn't do his due diligence by trying to tap on another gate or using the service phone for help.

READ MORE: Transit police won’t cancel Calgary man’s fine for following friend through Compass gates after card failed

The ticket was ultimately reduced from $173 to $70.

Lawyer Kyla Lee then took on the case pro bono, appealing the decision in B.C. Supreme Court.

She also found a loophole after discovering Lusawovana Nunu was charged under a provincial law rather than the municipal South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Act.

READ MORE: Court rules Calgary man must pay Vancouver SkyTrain fine, despite having valid fare

Crown counsel Kristen Gagnon conceded the appeal, and a judicial stay of proceedings was entered — quashing Lusawovana Nunu's conviction.

"I expect that the fines should be returned to him through the registry probably in about six to eight weeks," Lee said.

Despite feeling vindicated, Lusawovana Nunu says the experience has made him lose his trust with TransLink and transit police, making him think twice before riding the SkyTrain again.

"I've visited Vancouver a few times, and I drove," he said with a smile. "I don't know what's going to happen next."

—With files from Kristen Robinson

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