Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Taxi News places permanent Ottawa Taxi trial button on front page for February>>>>>>>>

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Move your eyes just slightly to the right, top of the sidebar, for the black, oval button labelled “Click here for Ottawa Taxi trial Zoom livestream link.”

Click on the black oval button to be connected directly to the Zoom feed from the Ottawa Taxi trial courtroom. The visual images inside the court are very small and blurry; the documents displayed as exhibits are generally easier to read. Sound from the courtroom is half-decent for the witness on the stand, but very low from the microphone where the lawyers ask their questions. For any hope of hearing the lawyers’ questions, turn your sound as high as it will go.

To date, we have always been able to access the Zoom feed from a computer; on cell phone it is reliable about half of the time depending upon location and WiFi reception.

Court proceedings occur from about 9:30 to 4:30 every business day (until February 23rd). There is a morning break; a lunch break; and an afternoon break. These are decided upon in a very flexible way, depending upon what is happening.

Metro Taxi vs City of Ottawa may prove to be a very important historical event not just for the Taxi industry, but for an enormous number of Canadian businesses intensely regulated by government. Taxi News has yet to receive permission from Justice Marc Smith to view daily trial recordings to ensure accuracy in reporting, so articles have been of necessity limited to the speed at which hand-written notes can be taken. However, something happens almost every day that matters to the Taxi industry and other business ventures.

For example, on Monday, February 6th, plainiffs’ lawyer Abdalla Barqawi asked Justice Marc Smith for guidance on the subject of “hearsay” evidence. Barqawi pointed out yesterday that anything Huxley has say about City directions must be considered “hearsay” evidence.

“The court has the right to question the source of the directions, the person at the City who made the decisions and provided direction to Mr. Huxley,” Barqawi suggested to Justice Smith.

“The idea that the City would have provided no instructions, I find that to be odd… somebody at the City was definitely providing instructions to Mr. Huxley; he was not acting on his own. He could not have done that.”

Barqawi suggested that Huxley could not simultaneously claim “solicitor/client privilege” on directions given to him by Ottawa staff, and yet also give his interpretation of those directions on the stand as that would constitute “hearsay” evidence.

Justice Smith ruled that, if Huxley is going to testify, the only admissible evidence that he can give will constitute waiver of solicitor-client privilege, which will open the door for cross-examination on some of the advice that he provided to the City and the production of what would otherwise be privileged documents.

Smith provided the City with the choice of whether to call Huxley as a witness. The City elected not to call him; so, he will not be a witness at the trial.

Municipalities and their legal counsel will no doubt want to make note of this decision in future. So will business owners.