Judge seeks compassion for man caught on moped

Defendant says ICBC told him he could drive

A Princeton-area man got a break in circuit court this month when Judge Gregory Kortubash appealed to the Crown attorney to extend “some compassion.”

Clinton Callies, 29, pleaded guilty to driving while his license was suspended.

However he told the bench that he had been informed twice by ICBC that under the circumstances, and despite his driving prohibition, he was operating within the law.

Callies, who has a record of driving infractions, said he purchased a 49 cc moped and was told at the insurance office it could be operated on roadways without a license.

“They told me as far as they knew it’s okay,” said Callies. “I wanted to do everything legal and I needed to go back and forth to work.”

Unsure, Callies returned to ICBC. “I went back a second time and they still said it was okay to drive it.”

In May 2018 Callies was stopped by an RCMP officer on Bridge Street, as he noted the bike was not plated.

Callies said he was surprised to learn the moped required a license, insurance and plates. He told the court he has since acquired a scooter he is allowed to operate, in order to maintain his employment.

Crown counsel Andrew Vandersluys originally asked that Callies be fined $750 and given another 12-month driving suspension.

However Kortubash asked him to reconsider, saying it appeared Callies was getting his life back on track.

“Can the Crown exercise any compassion?” I really feel for people in the rural areas that don’t have access to transportation. “

Vandersluys removed his recommendation for a further driving suspension and the fine was reduced to $300.

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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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