From The Gazette

Dollard des Ormeaux

Evening out on the rink turns into legal battle

  • Chris Guerra Edward at the Janiszewski Park in Dollard. He and his younger brother were fined for playing hockey in the park after it had closed.
    Chris Guerra Edward at the Janiszewski Park in Dollard. He and his younger brother were fined for playing hockey in the park after it had closed.
    Photo credit: Phil Carpenter, The Gazette

A simple game of hockey has turned into a legal roller-coaster ride for 21-year-old Pierrefonds residents Chris Guerra and his 16-year-old brother, Daniel.

Last December, the two were fined by a security guard for playing hockey at the Edward Janiszewski Park rink in Dollard-des-Ormeaux after closing time.

Guerra was fined $100 and his brother was fined $85.

They contested the fines at municipal court in Pointe-Claire on Oct. 17 and won.

But the flush of victory did not last. The verdict has been appealed.

Two weeks ago Guerra, a Concordia University business student, was served with a subpoena to appear in Quebec Superior Court on Jan. 18.

“I was super surprised,” Guerra said. “We weren’t doing anything criminal.”

Only Chris Guerra was summoned. His mother, Kim Mallette, is furious.

“It’s preposterous,” Mallette said. “What a waste of taxpayers’ money. My boys weren’t dealing drugs, for heaven’s sake. They were playing hockey.”

Dollard-des-Ormeaux Mayor Ed Janiszewski said the employee who filed the appeal through a city lawyer was told to drop the appeal last week.

“He cannot file an appeal without the approval of council,” Janiszewski said. “He did not get the approval. I told him to drop the appeal or he would no longer be employed by the city.”

Last December, the two boys were looking for a rink to play a game of evening hockey. They usually played at a Pierrefonds rink minutes from their home, but it was early in the season and the DDO rink was the nearest one open.

“It’s a big rink and we were playing at the far end, away from everybody else,” Guerra said. “We saw someone talking to people at the other end, but nobody spoke to us directly and the lights were still on so we kept on playing.”

At their Pierrefonds rink, the closing time was 11 p.m. and lights were shut off to indicate the rink was closing. The closing time at the DDO rink was 10 p.m., but the lights were not shut off, so the brothers continued to play until after 11 p.m.

Guerra said there are two entrances to the DDO park and one sign, posted between the two entrances, listing the operating hours. He did not see the sign, so did not realize the rink closed earlier than they were used to.

The security guard blocked Guerra’s car when they were leaving the parking lot and gave them tickets.

Guerra had never contested a fine before, but was determined to have his day in court.

“I was pretty nervous,” Guerra said. “But my brother was there so it made it easier. And the judge ruled in our favour.”

Mallette is hoping the appeal will be dropped, but has yet to hear anything from the city.

“I won’t relax until my son has been officially contacted and told the appeal has been dropped,” she said. “I’m a single mom. I can’t afford a lawyer. My son would have to represent himself.”

To read Brenda O’Farrell’s blog on this topic, click here.

27 comments

  1. By Marky Mark

    publish the name of this idiot public security guard who is on a power trip! Fire the bastard if he doesn’t call to offer his apology personally to the young man, immediately

    • By I will find you!

      They wouldn’t post his name on here, because they see how rediculous he is being. It’s ok though, I know this park and I have a feeling I know who this employee who is on a power trip is… Things will work out in the two boys favor… We will see!

      • By Find a dictionary first!

        First, it’s spelled “ridiculous”. Second, there’s noting “ridiculous” about doing one’s job. The park has a curfew for EVERYONE and it doesn’t matter if you’re playing hockey, walking your dog, sleepwalking or worshiping Jeebus if it’s curfew time. Although this by-law might create certain situations at times, it’s a by-law that prevents a lot of problems in parks at night and every city across the island of Montreal has one for that very reason. And if it is to be applied, it is to be applied without discrimination.

        The officer was courteous enough to give them a verbal warning at first and came back only an hour later, but the two defendants did not comply with the initial warning. What would you have done? Give them another warning? To what end? Unfortunately, there are other things to do in a day’s work than warning the same bunch of people 10 times over and over again. Legally speaking, the officer didn’t even have to give the initial warning and could’ve fined them both right away 1 minute into the curfew. This is NOT what happened and ample opportunity was given for them to leave.

        • By Find A better dictionary

          well if we are busy correcting spelling of others, maybe you should check your second sentence. It’s spelled “Nothing” and NOT “Noting”

  2. Ignorance is not a defense, as a resident you are required to know the bylaws like when driving your car you are required to know the laws. In addition, these two individuals admit guilt. As well, they forgot to mention they were warned an hour before and refused to leave. Accept responsibility pay the 75$ ticket and move on.

    • By RICHARD.PAQUETTE

      I think your comment is ignorant. The city legal dept is trying to re-coup 200$. The resources used on this idiotic attempt would be reason enough to drop the appeal. Imagine if the boys won their case again. Pretty stupid for 200$.

  3. Also, its a bit confusing since one received a 100$ ticket and the other 80$. Unfortunately this information cannot be accurate since all tickets in DDO are 75$ unless they are a minor which is 68$. Therefore from the start the credibility of these defendants is out the window. Who is the mayor to get involved, the justice system is supposed to be blind and independent. not controlled by seniel bureaucrats

  4. Why should the Dollard-des-Ormeaux Mayor Ed Janiszewski even be involved in the decision to proceed with the appeal. Do we not live in a democratic society? The justice system is supposed to be independent of political figures and if the employee in question wants to proceed with the appeal then this employee should be given the opportunity to successfully execute the function in which he is employed for in the first place. Why should this employee be threatened to loose his job when he is within his complete right to proceed with this appeal. Chris Guerra was given the opportunity to execute his right to contest the ticket he received, so why should the employee who gave the statement of offence not be given the same opportunities that Chris Guerra was given?

  5. The question of appealing the decision has nothing to do with the employee who observed the infraction and issued the statement of offence in the first place. The employee is not the one appealing the decision, it is out of his hands. The decision is being appealed by the crown prosecutor. The statements made by Mallette in regards to the preposterous nature of the situation and waste of taxpayers’ money is concerning, as the reason we have these levels of hierarchy in the legal systems in the first place, is to attempt to ensure fair and complete justice.

  6. Really? Kids dealing drugs in the park are just shooed out most of the time, why not put the lights on automatic timer. With a big sign saying no lights =park closed. Teens really need to be supported when doing things responsibly, the guard could have just asked them to leave instead of power tripping. Security guards are notorious for having over inflated egos. The power thrill you get when driving a city owned ford focus and ticketing the good kids must be immense. It’s nice to see the mayor involved. Why pick on him? Security and cops just seem to ticket first and assume guilt, no rapport or people skills are necessary anymore. We are turning into an authoritarian anti-social society.

  7. To K.S. – The defendants had their day in cour and won. A municipal court judge heard their argument and ruled in their favor. I fail to see how you, or any of the other posters here, could take issue with that. Insofar as the appeal goes, this is not a case of one individual against another. It is a case of a municipality vs two individuals. The public security officer, or whatever political mandarin decided to press on with the appeal, is an employee of the municipality and as such, must both answer to, and get clearance from, his employer. In a matter like this, no “crown prosecutor”, as you put it, would unilaterally press for an appeal. This is not the OJ Simpson case. The municipality would have to foot the bill for filing the appeal and pay their legal team, and as such, it is their legal perogative to require that they approve any such moves to ensure municipal funds aren’t being spent at the whim of employees. At this point the expenditures far outway the cost of the ticket, and the monies involved to overturn a lower court decision that went against the city.

  8. These kids were doing everything that society is missing, fun, playing outside, friendship development and make believe cops decide that this is unacceptable. What a waist of time, money. Thanks God they wearn’t breaking into anybody’s house or car.

    Keep playing the game. P.S. Since there is no hockey where can I go to see the next local game.

  9. Danicka …Your assumptions are a little incorrect.

    I will write a much larger opinion later on but let me clear off a few facts.

    This is 100% he mayor’s fault.

    I had been targeted many times by the public security officials when I was younger and playing with friends street hockey as neighbors would call the city on us. We never received one fine. The reasoning behind this is that most of the time ,public security officials didn’t believe in their own bylaw and would prefer us to just stop playing hockey without the embarrassment of having to fine us. We could have easily been fined. The security officer chose not to fine us.

    I will assume this officer who is appealing this ticket is doing so because he believes he is right and did the right thing according to city bylaws. He isn’t wrong. He did his job. It’s the city councilors and the mayor who made the bylaw.

    Why should we pick on the mayor?

    He’s been the mayor the last 20 years in this town and has had nobody challenge him so he can do anything that he wants. All of the councilors are scared to speak out against him. He and a few of his councilors (who have been there just as long as he has) run this town like an old boys club while the new councilor sits in the corner hoping to one day actually make significant change to the city once this man finally steps down.

    The only reason the mayor is making a big stink about this is because he got caught. If these two kids and Mr. Sasson didn’t speak out publicly about it then they would have had to pay a fine and the city would look like the big bully that they are.

    He’s trying to pass off the blame on the public security officer who was just interpreting the bylaw as it was written by the mayor, city council and the town’s manager Jack Benzaquen and was doing what he was paid to do.

    This is pure predatory behaviour by the city in the same way that a cop has an imaginary quota for speeding tickets. The simplest explanation would have been to shut off the lights in the park once it got too late. There’s someone there to do that. The city pays him to sit in the chalet and take care of the park. Also, they could have asked the boys to leave after closing hours and told them the park is closing in the same way that a mall starts to close the stores after closing hours. They chose neither option. The city was looking for a reason to make some extra money and they found it.

    Sorry, but it’s time that the mayor and council defend their bylaw or change it. Unfortunately, we’ve elected this person the last 20 years (who votes for him I don’t know) but if we want things to change then we need to send a message loud and clear that we won’t allow citizens of this town and their children to be fined for playing a sport that is a national symbol of this country. Dollard-Des-Ormeaux’s mayor and council has treated this town like a country club for way too long and something needs to change.

    November 2013 Municipal Elections coming up soon.

  10. DDO security only goes after easy targets. I have been a resident for over 25 years, and have never seen or heard a O so flush with cash that the lights are left on after closing? Perhaps security should fine town council for wasting electricity.

  11. As a mother of a teenage boy, I can only hope that my son is as grounded, focused and a sports enthusiest like the Guerra boys. City officials, and public security should be more concerned with dealing with actual issues like drugs in the parks, and other public safety issues then some great kids playing hockey. Shame on you city of Dollard! Isn’t it also the City of dollard that was giving out tickets to kids playing ball hockey?….Discusting! I guess when you are choosing a city to live in, if your a family with children Dollard is not a great choice.
    I hope the whole issue is dropped with a formal apology, it would be the least the city could do!

  12. WE NEED MORE KIDS IN THE STREET. WE NEED TO REJUVENATE DOLLARD! EVERYONE IS LEAVING FOR VAUDREUIL. HOMES ARE FALLING APART, PEOPLE DON’T MAINTAIN THEIR HOMES IT ‘S EMBARASSING. ONLY THE YOUNG FAMILIES UPKEEP THEIR HOMES.

  13. The lights in the parks in DDO stay on after 10 pm because all rink maintenance is done between 10pm and 1am. The chalet guy is there `till 1 am but the ice closes at 10pm..

  14. So let me understand what is going on

    1. Public Security advises the group of young men verbally that the park is closed sometime after 10:00 PM
    2. Public Security returns back to the park one hour later and sees that 2 young men are still in the park.
    3. Public Security issues a ticket (state of offence) to each young man for been in the park after been previously warned that the park is closed and to leave.
    4. The young men contest the state of offence at Municipal court.
    5. The young men successfully argue in Municipal court that the verbal warning issued one hour prior to the group and them was not clearly made and the signage in the park was not acceptable.
    6. The Judge agrees with the young men and acquits both of them.
    7. Montreal Municipal Court prosecutor decided to appeals the judges verdict to Superior Court, since it will affect all future cases in Quebec involving verbal warnings and signage.
    9. The young men get the notice of appeal to Superior Court and call the media.
    10. Mayor Edward Janiszewski is not aware of the Municipal court appeal and threatens to fire the employees involved.

    The story is not about hockey, the Mayor or the Public Security Employees. Its about verbal warnings and signage, and rights of citizen who live near the park , receiving a quite night of sleep at 11:30 PM.

  15. That’s awesome news EJ aka Mr. Mayor. So….I guess it would have been easy for the chalet guy to simply start doing maintenance on the ice from 10:00pm and the kids would have easily gotten the message if they saw someone starting to water down the ice and leave by themselves or be told by the guy watering the ice or shoveling the ice or pretty much doing anything to the rink after 10:00pm that it was closing time and that they needed to leave so that the ice could be ready for the following day? I think they would have easily understood that message since the entire reason they went to your park was because the ice was ready early in the season compared to other rinks in the nearby area.

    If someone told me to leave because they needed to get the ice ready for the following day; I would happily oblige so that I could return the next day and continue to play hockey since many times the condition of the ice in DDO parks is so poorly maintained that I would crack through the ice with my skates because nobody running the chalet took the proper care to ensure that the ice conditions were good enough to skate on.

    I guess it’s much easier to harass and fine kids when there was a much easier solution right in front of you. That solution was to simply have someone talk to them and tell them that the park is closing and the need to water down the ice so that ice conditions are good for the following day.

    No hockey player that I know of would refuse to leave if they knew that they couldn’t play hockey the following day because of poor ice and weather conditions.

    We kind of need a rink to play hockey. The very same reason that these kids chose this park in the first place and now most likely won’t be going back there anytime soon.

  16. By Park naming

    Not being from DDO I noticed that there is a park called “Edward Janiszewski Park” and the mayor’s name is Ed Janiszewski? Talk about self idolization.

  17. By Truth_B_Told

    Public security officers, just as any other municipal or provincial inspectors, have the authority (as in legal power) to detain and even arrest anyone committing an infraction for the purposes of identifying and citing that person, as per provisions of the Quebec Code of Penal Procedure. Anyone who fails to comply or otherwise impedes that function can be charged with obstructing justice, usually a much more severe charge. So, in essence, the officer who “blocked” the two defendants from leaving acted in full conformity with the powers granted to him by a provincial law. Something to think about, especially since there are quite a few legally-inept wannabe lawyers in this comments section who are peddling a belief to the contrary. You guys are always so amusing to read.

    As for “some” media outlets reporting skills, please do your homework first next time before blowing something perfectly normal completely out of proportions. Since there was reason to believe that there was a serious error in the judgement rendered, the appeal was NOT initiated by the city of DDO, but rather by the municipal Court of Montreal who feared that the jurisprudence it would create would impact future cases in ALL jurisdictions, not just DDO. Poor reporting skills are why most public servants won’t openly speak to the media in the first place… and this article is a prime example of that!

  18. @Truth_B_Told

    I don’t believe the media has done a poor job of reporting this story. It seems pretty obvious that you have your own personally biased opinion on this story since you said that you work in public security and are trying to defend the actions of someone in your industry. I won’t negatively judge your opinion since you’re entitled to your own viewpoint on the matter but I will say that there needs to be more transparency with public officials since they are not working for private entities and should disclose any information that the public demands on a particular subject matter.

    In addition, it’s evident that there is a disconnect between public security officials and the mayor and council if there are threats being made against employees and that should be resolved immediately.

    I’m more concerned with treating residents of this town and the West-Island with mutual respect. There were many steps that could have been taken before trying to detain two kids for the simple crime of playing hockey. There seems to be a lack of clear communication to the boys on what was happening along with a bigger issue of having too many West-Island boroughs having too many conflicting laws.

    As for the need to detain someone; were the boys going to run away like criminals? An individual from the chalet or the officer couldn’t clearly discuss with these two boys the current situation and have watched them leave the park with a strong warning before issuing a fine? I’ve seen people breaking automobile speed laws that have gotten away with a warning from the police for actions that are way more harmful to people’s safety than this.

    I won’t doubt that what you say about the penal code is true. It’s your job so you know the rules better than I do. But, I believe the intent of that law was created for situations where public security officials could aid police if they see someone speeding down a road drunk and causing safety hazards or in situations where individuals are vandalizing or causing damage to public property or residential break-ins and there are no police that are available within the vicinity. I don’t believe the intent was to detain any residents for any reason without a strong justification that they are breaking the law. And in this case, I don’t consider playing hockey in a rink late at night worthy of using that justification.

    I could be wrong. Maybe these kids are punks and got what they deserved and are trying to avoid paying a fine. But, on CTV News Montreal and many other media outlets, they don’t look like punks and wouldn’t be sharing their story to every media outlet available if they didn’t feel strongly that an injustice was done to them.

    If there is a solution that can come from this I would recommend that…

    1) The court drop their appeal

    2) Council and mayor discuss with other municipalities how to better synchronize park closing times (We live in the West-Island, it’s not that big a place. No need for different times between every single borough because they all want to be special and different from each other). If this were Pierrefonds, these kids would have still been legally allowed to play without any problems.

    3) No employee is fired and the mayor acknowledges that he made an error in judgement and apologizes to the employee for simply doing their job.

    4) Mayor and council review this outcome and work on changing their by-laws so that something like this doesn’t occur again. I’m pretty sure that with today’s technology, these kids could have easily been given a warning and some sort of written notice that gives them notice that they’re not welcome in the park after hours without the need to give out a fine. If they continue to disregard the notice then you can fine them…but i’m guessing they’re just going to play at the rink near their residence in Pierrefonds and avoid ever coming back to this park ever again after what has transpired.

    5) Public security and the city need to have better communication with each other. It sounds like there is resentment among public security officials for not being paid the same wages as officers in the same line of work. There doesn’t seem to be much trust between both parties. I don’t have a clear solution for this as I’m unaware of how the salaries fit into the city’s budget but it seems like more can be done to keep these at an equal footing with the salaries of others in the same line of work.

  19. @Truth_B_Told..” DDO subcontracts all of its’ public security personnel from a private security agency ”

    I decide to do some reading of the Code of Penal Procedure of Quebec ” Annotated ” and if this is the case then the two brothers have a case to argue in Superior Court.

    The power given in “Art 87 of the Code of Penal Procedure of Quebec which all government inspectors use for enforcement of their respected acts, only applies to government Employees of the Province, City or Town and ought not apply to personnel from a private security agency , As reference in the “2012 Code of Penal Procedure of Quebec Annotated”

    Thus the powers of arrest and the issuing statement of offence should be argued as been Illegal, and should be dismiss .

    Furthermore in the public interest The Gazette and its legal department should investigated the legalities of powers of arrest and the issuing of statement of offence by private security agency employees subcontracted to enforce City by-laws.

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