UP Express rider charged $171.26 extra after confusion over duelling Presto machines


When Terry Hamilton first moved to the Mount Dennis neighbourhood last December and realized he could commute to his office downtown using the Union Pearson Express, he was thrilled.

The 15-minute ride to Union Station from the stop at Weston was not only quick, but travelling on the “absolutely fantastic” airport rail service made him feel like he was in “a completely different city” than the one he experienced while captive to the crowded TTC bus and subway, Hamilton said.

But after a few weeks of commuting bliss he noticed something troubling. He was running up charges on his Presto fare card much faster than he expected. Each trip from Weston to Union was supposed to cost $5.02, but some days he was being charged several times that.

Hamilton called Presto customer service and was shocked to discover what the problem was — he was being deceived by duplicate fare card machines.

Most UP Express stations are served by both UP Express trains and GO Transit trains, and there are two different types of Presto card readers installed on the platforms: a green one for GO Transit customers, and a silver one for UP Express riders.

If customers tap their fare card on the wrong one, they can be charged for both a UP Express fare and GO Transit fare for a single trip.

By the time Hamilton caught the issue he’d been overcharged by $171.26. He said Presto and UP Express staff were helpful and he had no trouble getting a refund.

But he contended it’s “absurd” that there are two different types of machines at the same train platform. While the two types of readers are a different colour and there are signs indicating how to use them, Hamilton said “if you’re just looking for the Presto tap, you’re not going to notice that.”

“It continues to boggle my mind actually,” he said. “I thought the whole point of Presto was a fare system that would go across all of the different transit options.”

Metrolinx, the agency that operates Presto, concedes other customers have been confused by the two kinds of readers.

Spokesperson Amanda Ferguson said the reason for having two different types is that originally the UP Express was designed as a separate system with a different fare structure than GO. However, in 2016 the agency brought fares for the two services in line with each other.

She said customers travelling to or from Pearson on the UP Express are supposed to tap their fare card on the silver UP Express Presto readers.

UP Express riders travelling anywhere else can use either the green GO Transit readers or the silver UP Express devices. But crucially, when those customers tap their card a second time at the end of their journey, they must do so on the same colour device that they did at the start of their trip. If they tap on a different colour device, they’re charged a second fare.

Hamilton said he was overcharged because he was tapping on a silver UP Express device at Weston, but then tapping off at a green GO device when he arrived at Union. To the Presto system, that made it look as though he was making two trips, one on UP Express and another on GO.

And because he wasn’t “tapping off” at the end of what looked like a GO trip, he was charged the maximum amount for travelling the whole length of the Kitchener GO line.

Hamilton said he never expected to see a GO Transit fare card reader at the UP Express stop at Union because GO trains operate out of a completely separate part of the station.

Metrolinx said it put a GO Presto reader near the UP Express platform at Union in part to allow commuters travelling between Union and the Bloor and Weston stops on the airport service to have the trips count toward the GO loyalty program that provides free rides at the end of the month for frequent users.

Ferguson said Metrolinx is “working to improve the user experience” and is launching a pilot initiative at Union “to test out designs that would better visually distinguish the two types of machines.”

According to Olivier St-Cyr, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s faculty of information and an expert in user experience design, public-facing technical systems that rely on people to correctly interpret visual cues like signage are often the least effective.

“People can be relied on to some extent, but if they have to remember too many pieces of information or the information becomes complex, then yeah, people will fail,” he said.

St-Cyr said visual cues are particularly likely to be ineffective in an environment like a busy train station, where there are already multiple signs competing for people’s attention and customers are rushing to their destinations.

He argued it would be ideal to just have one type of machine, but if that’s not possible Metrolinx could design a system that prevents people from choosing the wrong device. For example, he suggested that if possible the devices could be programmed to reject a customer’s payment if they end their journey by tapping their card on a different colour device than the one they started with.

“Getting a clear system that works that doesn’t require people to remember things and process extra information to make a decision is the ultimate goal,” he said.

Ben Spurr is a Toronto-based reporter covering transportation. Reach him by email at bspurr@thestar.ca or follow him on Twitter: @BenSpurr


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Manslaughter trial of Ottawa police officer charged in Abdirahman Abdi’s death to begin Monday


The high-profile criminal trial of Ottawa police constable Daniel Montsion is set to begin Monday, two and a half years after Abdirahman Abdi died following an altercation with city police outside his apartment building in Hintonburg.

Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) charged Montsion in 2017 with manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon, following an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the 37-year-old Somali-Canadian man’s death in 2016,

WATCH: Ottawa police officer charged with manslaughter in death of Abdirahman Abdi

Police were dispatched on the morning of July 24, 2016, in response to reports of “multiple assaults” at a coffee shop west of downtown Ottawa. After attempting to make an arrest, officers chased Abdi on foot and a struggle ensued in front of his apartment building on Hilda Street.

In its statement announcing the charges laid against Montsion in 2017, the provincial police watchdog said there was “an interaction” between Montsion, another police officer and Abdi that Sunday morning and Abdi “went into medical distress.”

New video shows aftermath of Abdirahman Abdi arrest

Video footage recorded after the confrontation showed a handcuffed, bloodied and unconscious Abdi lying on the ground. He died in hospital the next day.

Family, friends and the Justice for Abdirahman Coalition have described Abdi as someone who had mental health challenges but who was not violent.

His death sent shock waves throughout the Ottawa community and across Canada, sparking questions about racial profiling, police brutality and mental health supports, and prompting demands for police training reform.

Pleas for better police training blend with tears at funeral of Abdirahman Abdi

Montsion’s trial begins Feb. 4 and has been scheduled for a three-month period. Montsion is being represented by well-known Ottawa criminal defence lawyer Michael Edelson.

Both Edelson and Philip Perlmutter, the Toronto Crown prosecutor assigned to the case, declined to speak with Global News ahead of Monday’s trial.

The Ottawa Police Association did not respond to a request for comment.

Black Lives Matter shut down Yonge-Dundas Square to protest death of Ottawa man

A community vigil and candlelit walk was held Friday night in Abdi’s memory and to inform the public on how they may support Abdi’s family during the trial period.

“Nearly three years later, the injustice and pain of Abdirahman’s death continues to ripple through his family and his community,” a description for the event read.

As support rallied around Abdi’s relatives in the aftermath of his death, so it did around Montsion after the SIU laid charges against him.

In late March 2017, it was reported that black and blue rubber bracelets were being purchased and worn by members of the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) in solidarity with the criminally charged officer.

Police wristbands cause controversy as cop faces manslaughter charge

The bands were inscribed with the words “united we stand” followed by Montsion’s badge number on the outside, and “divided we fall” on the inside.

Ottawa’s disbanded community police advisory group expressed concern at the time that the bracelets were causing needless tension and division as Montsion’s case progressed through the courts.

The president of the Ottawa Police Association said in the response that the wristbands were not part of the OPS uniform and officers would not wear them while on duty.

– With a file from The Canadian Press

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Toronto police officer to be charged with misconduct in connection with Bruce McArthur case


A Toronto police officer is expected to be charged with two counts of professional misconduct in connection with the case of serial killer Bruce McArthur.

Sgt. Paul Gauthier is set to appear at a tribunal Tuesday on charges of insubordination and neglect of duty under the Police Services Act, his lawyer Lawrence Gridin tells CBC News. The allegations are not criminal in nature and have not been tested. 

On Tuesday, McArthur, 67, pleaded guilty to killing eight men, many of whom had ties to Toronto’s Gay Village, between 2010 and 2017. 

But the allegations against Gauthier relate to an early interaction between McArthur and police, which is regarded by some as a missed opportunity.

In 2017, Chief Mark Saunders publicly dismissed the idea of a serial killer in the Village, remarks that drew the ire of residents once McArthur was arrested.

But a police source close to the investigation previously told CBC News officers spoke to McArthur as part of a investigation not connected with the broader investigations into disappearances in the Village. 

McArthur’s monstrous nature was difficult to uncover because he led a life of extreme deception.– Lawrence Gridin, lawyer for Sgt. Paul Gauthier

Reports emerged that a man had once told police McArthur had tried to strangle him. Police questioned, then released McArthur sometime before 2017, a move that later prompted the Toronto police professional standards unit to launch an internal investigation into the matter.

In a statement Friday evening, Gridin said, « The decision not to charge Bruce McArthur for the 2016 incident was made in conjunction with Detective Gauthier’s supervisor and based on the information available at the time. »

At least three of McArthur’s victims are believed to have been killed after 2016. His victims were Skandaraj Navaratnam, 40, Andrew Kinsman, 49, Selim Esen, 44, and Abdulbasir Faizi, 44, Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, 37, Dean Lisowick, 47, Soroush Mahmudi, 50, and Majeed Kayhan, 58. 

McArthur pleaded guilty to killing these eight men. Top row, from left to right, Skandaraj Navaratnam, 40, Andrew Kinsman, 49, Selim Esen, 44, and Abdulbasir Faizi, 44. Bottom row, from left to right: Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, 37, Dean Lisowick, 47, Soroush Mahmudi, 50, and Majeed Kayhan, 58. (Toronto Police Service/CBC)

Police believe Lisowick was killed sometime between 2016 and 2017. Unlike most of McArthur’s other victims, Lisowick was never reported missing.

Esen disappeared from area of Yonge and Bloor streets over the Easter weekend in 2017. He was reported missing on April 30, never to be seen again.

Just two months later, Kinsman vanished from Toronto’s Cabbagetown neighbourhood, one day after the annual Pride parade. He was reported missing three days later.

Further details the allegations against Gauthier are expected after his appearance Tuesday. 

The statement from his lawyer went on to say Gauthier conducted a « proper » investigation of McArthur, and made the information available to all other investigators involved.

« McArthur’s monstrous nature was difficult to uncover because he led a life of extreme deception, » the statement said. « Det. Gauthier has great sympathy for the victims and the community. »

How the Toronto Police Service has handles missing persons cases is now the subject of an independent review led by former Ontario Court of Appeal judge Gloria Epstein. 

In a statement late Friday night, Toronto Police said homicide investigators immediately contacted the professional standards unit when investigative concerns were identified.

« As a result, an officer has been compelled to attend a tribunal in efforts to provide an explanation for his actions. »

The statement went on to point out the role that community members played in solving the cases of the missing.

« The success of the McArthur investigation was a result of the community working with the police. »


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Regina sailor charged with sexual assault at Halifax base in 2018


A reservist with a unit from Regina has been charged with sexual assault in connection with an alleged incident a CFB Halifax in March 2018.

The Canadian Armed Forces Department of National Defence says military police in Halifax received a report in June 2018 of a possible sexual assault that was alleged to have occurred at the end of March 2018.

READ MORE: Sexual assault charge laid against Canadian Armed Forces member

The investigation began at the complainant’s request, and as a result, Ordinary Seaman David Katabarwa, a reservist with HMCS Queen, has been charged with one count of sexual assault.

Katabarwa was a full-time employee at CFB Halifax at the time of the alleged assault.

READ MORE: Sexual assault charges laid against Canadian Armed Forces member in Halifax

Katabarwa is scheduled to appear in Halifax provincial court on March 4.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Daughter, 18, charged with 2nd-degree murder after woman reported missing in Ottawa


An 18-year-old woman has been charged with second-degree murder after her mother was reported missing earlier this month. 

Ottawa police asked for the public’s assistance Thursday to help locate 37-year-old Susan Kublu-Iqqittuq. The Inuk woman was last seen in the area of Elgin Street and Laurier Avenue on Jan. 10, police said.

Lennese Kublu has been charged with second-degree murder and indignity to a human body, police said.

The family confirmed with CBC News that Kublu is the daughter of the woman who was reported missing.

Ottawa police are using the spelling « Kuplu » for both women. Police said that their major crime unit is investigating.​

The suspect appeared in court Saturday morning. 


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Hamilton teacher Richard Taylor charged in Rutherford double homicide


The son of Carla Rutherford, killed with her husband, Alan Rutherford, in a horrific fire intentionally set in their bedroom, has been charged in their murders.

Richard Taylor is charged with two counts of first degree murder. He is expected to appear in court later Thursday.

We believe the fire was intentionally set,” Staff Sgt. Steve Bereziuk told the Spectator in September. “And it was done with the intention of killing them.

“Right now, we are focusing on one individual and that person is aware. And they have been co-operative.”

Richard Taylor is the oldest of Carla’s children, and grew up in the Greening Court rancher with his parents and younger brother. Property records show Carla and her first husband, whom her son Richard was named after, bought the home in 1981.

Taylor is a teacher, listed as the library, physical education and health teacher at Hess Street School in Hamilton. Last year he was listed as teaching Grades 2/3.

His profile on the Ontario College of Teachers shows he was in good standing and earned a bachelor of arts from McMaster University in 1998 before getting a bachelor of science in education from Medaille College in New York.

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board spokesperson Shawn McKillop said Taylor has been “reassigned effective immediately.” Any other questions were referred to Hamilton police.

Property records show he owns a home in Oakville with his wife, whose social media profile shows two children.

Carla and her first husband divorced and she remarried Alan Rutherford, who has two adult daughters from a prior marriage. The couple met while working at a Hamilton Health Science lab and married 11 years ago.

Bereziuk previously said the blended family got along well.

Richard Taylor and his younger brother started a custom Muskoka chair company using baseball bats in the design in 2015. They made the chairs out of Taylor’s Oakville home. The brother is a chiropractor in Toronto.

This past June, weeks before the arson homicides, the Huntsville Forester published an interview with the brothers where they spoke about starting the business after their mom threatened to toss their collection of old baseball bats collecting dust in their childhood home.

The article says Richard goes by “Rich” and is a “respected elementary school teacher in Hamilton.” They were on summer vacation in Haliburton when they hashed out their custom Muskoka chair business plan — Taylor Bros. Chair Co. The company has been successful, including donating four custom stools for a Toronto Blue Jays’ Jays Care Foundation auction. They had their picture taken on the field at Rogers Centre.

But in that interview Richard said the best part of the business was spending time with his brother.

“That was part of the attraction for starting this company,” says Rich. “At the very least, we could get together more often and chat, have a beer. It also gives us an excuse to get the families together and hang out. It’s great.”

Alan and Carla Rutherford were a well-like retired couple known in the neighbourhood for being out walking their two chocolate brown labradors — the dogs escaped the blaze.

Alan was a runner and Carla a talented quiltmaker who donated her quilts for fundraising. They were both longtime members and volunteers with the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club.

After their deaths there was an outpouring from the community sharing memories of the couple.

In September, Bereziuk said police were exploring the possibility that the arson was contracted out.

The Rutherfords had “no apparent enemies” beyond perhaps “that inner circle,” he said at the time.

Hamilton police are expected to provide an update on the case at 2 p.m.


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Two men charged in Ivory Coast for trying to blackmail MP Tony Clement


Two men in Africa’s Ivory Coast have been charged for attempting to blackmail Canadian MP Tony Clement by posing as a woman online and demanding money after Clement shared explicit sexual images with them.

RCMP have confirmed the two men arrested by the Ivory Coast’s cyber-crimes unit recently were charged in connection with Clement’s case.

In November, Clement asked the RCMP to investigate after he admitted to sending sexually explicit images to what he believed was a « consenting female, » but later learned was an online account being run by « foreign actors » trying to extort him for 50,000 euros.

Clement was booted from the Conservative caucus in November after admitting to having had inappropriate online relationships with more than one woman.

The suspects in the extortion case against Clement and one other alleged victim are being identified by Ivory Coast officials only by the initials CH and DML.

Information published by the African police agency says the two suspects have been questioned, and the RCMP says it continues to work with international partners on the case.


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Canadians could now be charged with drunk driving — even if not drunk, lawyers warn


Canadians could now face criminal charges for driving with illegal amounts of alcohol in their system, even if they were stone cold sober while behind the wheel, under tough new impaired driving laws passed by Parliament, according to criminal defence lawyers.

Bill C-46, which came into effect last month, gives police wide-ranging new powers to demand sobriety tests from drivers, boaters and even canoeists.

Police no longer need to have any reasonable grounds to suspect you’re impaired, or driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than .08, which is 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, before demanding you submit to testing.

Refusing the test can result in a criminal charge.

But even drinking within two hours after you’ve stopped driving or boating could now get you arrested, if your BAC rises over .08

Defence lawyer Daniel Brown says part of the bill may be unconstitutional. (CBC)

Law is unconstitutional, lawyer says

« I think anyone should have a problem with this legislation, because it’s unconstitutional, » Toronto lawyer Daniel Brown said.

When introducing the bill, federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said the law would help crack down on people who consume large quantities of alcohol in a short period, then drive or boat, hoping to get home before the alcohol is fully absorbed into their systems.

Previously, if drivers could prove they weren’t yet over the legal limit  when they were stopped by police, a court could find them innocent.

The new law removes that defence.

« Its primary purpose is to eliminate risky behaviour associated with bolus drinking, sometimes referred to as drinking and dashing » Wilson-Raybould told Parliament.

But Brown calls the law a solution for a problem that rarely existed and claims it will « criminalize Canadians who have done nothing wrong. »

He points to number of scenarios where people park their cars with no intention of driving anytime soon, then start drinking.

« You can imagine a situation where a husband and wife are out together. The husband drives to the bar knowing the wife will be the designated driver on the way home, and she’s not going to be consuming alcohol that night. The husband drinks alcohol and is now over the limit and has driven a vehicle within the previous two hours, » said Brown.

Brown says police can legally enter the bar, or wait for the couple to leave the establishment and demand a breath sample from the husband.

« Even if he’s walking to the passenger side of the car, if he is now over 80, » added Brown, he could be arrested.

Arrest has serious consequences

An arrest for driving over the limit comes with an automatic 90-day driver’s licence suspension and potentially increased insurance premiums. Those who fight the criminal charge in court would likely have to spend thousands of dollars on legal fees as well.

According to several lawyers canvassed by CBC News, police can come to your home up to two hours after you stopped driving or boating to test your sobriety.

RCMP Const. Raymond Lee speaks with a motorist while looking for impaired drivers during a roadside check in Surrey, B.C. A Toronto lawyer says a bill that toughens impaired driving laws is ‘a breach of the charter.’ (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Potentially complicating matters is the fact the charge is considered a « reverse onus » in legal terms. Essentially, that means police don’t have to prove your BAC was over the limit when you were driving, or boating two hours earlier.

It’s now up to you to prove you were sober.

It’s unclear if anyone in Canada has been arrested under the new two hour law yet, but lawyers CBC News has spoken to insist any such case will be fought all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada to test the law’s constitutionality.

And Ontario’s Criminal Lawyers’ Association has warned the government the law could result in thousands of wrongful convictions.

‘Fear mongering,’ MADD says

But Andy Murie of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) says lawyers have got it wrong and accuses them of « fear mongering. »  

Murie, who is not a lawyer, insists police still need probable cause to demand a sobriety test.

« Only if [police] suspect that you’ve committed an offence of drunk driving and they are following the investigation, and that investigation took them to your house or your bar » can they demand a sobriety test, he said.

Murie says a spot check would be an exception, and police can legally test everyone stopped.

Toronto criminal defence lawyer Calvin Barry, who has defended hundreds of drunk driving cases, says MADD has it wrong.

« Police do not require reasonable suspicion any longer, » Barry told CBC News..

Barry also warns Canadians they can be arrested and charged within the new two-hour time frame if their BAC has risen over the limit — even if they had been sober when they parked their car and planned to take a cab or transit home later.

« That is just a flagrant contravention of one’s civil liberties and a breach of the charter, » Barry said.


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Rare direct indictment for paramedics charged in death of ‘Good Samaritan’ Al-Hasnawi


Two former Hamilton paramedics charged in connection with the death of Yosif Al-Hasnawi will head straight to trial after a rare direct indictment one of their lawyers describes as « extremely unfair. »

Steven Snively and Christopher Marchant were charged in August with failing to provide the necessaries of life when Al-Hasnawi, 19, was shot in the abdomen and killed on Dec. 2, 2017 — not long after he tried to help an older man who was accosted by two men outside a mosque. Witnesses, including his father and brothers, claimed the paramedics told Al-Hasnawi he was faking his injuries, and that he’d been shot by a pellet gun. Both paramedics have been fired by the city.

Police say when paramedics arrived, they didn’t take Al-Hasnawi to hospital for 38 minutes. When they did, they took him to St. Joseph’s Hospital, rather than Hamilton General Hospital, which is not only the region’s trauma centre, but closer to where he was shot. 

The direct indictment, which was filed by the Crown, is a « rarely used » provision typically seen in high-profile murder cases, according to Michael DelGobbo, who is representing Snively. It means there will be no preliminary hearing.

The lawyer pointed out that Dale King, the man charged with second murder for Al-Hasnawi’s death, was allowed a preliminary hearing, but noted the two paramedics have had that « right removed by the actions of the Crown. »

He said in this case the direct indictment also prevents the paramedics from having their case tried in the Ontario Court of Justice, meaning it must go to Superior Court.

« The Crown has taken away my client’s ability to elect the level of court to be tried in which is extremely unfair, » said DelGobbo, adding the Crown hasn’t given him any explanation for the unusual move.


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Man, 20, charged with 2nd-degree murder in Mississauga teen’s death


Peel police have arrested and charged a 20-year-old man in connection with the death of a 14-year-old boy, who was found dead in a Mississauga, Ont., park Friday morning.

Police were called shortly before 8 a.m. Friday to the area of Lewisham and Truscott drives in Mississauga, a city west of Toronto, where they found the boy’s body.

Multiple sources have identified the slain boy as Riley Martin, although authorities have yet to confirm his identity.

On Saturday, police said Nicholas Mahabir, 20, of Mississauga has been charged with second-degree murder. He was scheduled to appear in court sometime during the day.

A spokesperson for Peel police was tight-lipped about the investigation on Saturday, saying only that the accused was arrested on Friday night. Const. Iryna Yashnyk could not confirm the cause of the boy’s death, or elaborate on information released Friday that the body had obvious signs of trauma.

Yashnyk also would not answer questions about a possible motive, or whether the victim and the accused knew each other.

The teen had left home on Thursday night, but had not been reported missing, Peel Const. Danny Marttini, another spokesperson for the force, told reporters on Friday.

The park where the boy was found is not far from Clarkson Secondary School, where Martin attended classes. In a letter sent to Clarkson families, the school board said « police believe this is an isolated incident and have assured us there are no additional safety precautions needed at our school. » 

The Peel District School Board had counsellors at the school on Saturday for students and staff who wanted to talk about their feelings. The board also tweeted a copy of a tip sheet of ways to cope with emotional stress. The 11 tips included finding « a safe and comfortable environment » to share thoughts and feelings, avoiding engaging in speculation about what happened, either verbally or online, and sticking to normal routines as much as possible.

Investigators are appealing to witnesses, anyone with video surveillance footage or who may know anything about the case to call the Peel police homicide and missing persons bureau at 905-453-2121, ext. 3205, or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.


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