The citizen had contested a Statement of Offence which he had received under the Highway Safety Code. At trial, he was found guilty of a lesser offence (lower fine and less demerit points) but ordered to pay the court costs. The citizen submits that the judge would have mentioned that, given the lesser offence, it would cost him less.

When he received his Notice of Judgment, however, the court costs were such that the total amount to be paid was higher than the amount of the initial fine. The citizen submitted a complaint to the Ombudsman de Montréal to have these court costs cancelled.

The Ombudsman de Montréal has no power to quash any order of a Court of law, including an order to pay court costs: we are not a Court of appeal and we cannot intervene in any judicial process. Moreover, the amounts of court costs are clearly provided for in the Tariff of court costs in penal matters, a provincial legislation over which we have no jurisdiction. The most the Ombudsman de Montréal could do was to make an informal approach to remind the Cour municipale de Montréal judges the impact of the court costs they may order, especially when the fines at stake are minimal.

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