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Legally, they have all the answers

Ivana Pelisek | Interrobang | News | October 6th, 2008



If you find yourself in a bind or have questions or concerns understanding your individual rights, you have a place to go right here on campus.

Community Legal Services is available for all fulltime Fanshawe students, free of charge and specialize in legal matters pertaining to students.

Jason Voss, a Criminal Defense Lawyer, and Deanna Harris, a Law Student at Western University, are just two of the representatives from CLS who are available to speak on your behalf. They sat down with us to talk about the services they can provide to the students of Fanshaswe College.

Every Tuesday, Harris is available in the FSU from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in her office in SC2001. Monday to Thursday Harris is available at Western University from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Q: What can CLS do for Fanshawe students?
A: The CLS handles everything from initial appearances to speaking with crown attorneys to handling appeals. If a student is ticketed with a Provincial or Criminal offense, we encourage students to seek out representation in order for us to appear on their behalf in court. If a student decides to take this route, we help with the application process. If the ticket happens to be one of a criminal nature, we urge students to come to us in order for us to try and divert the ticket, meaning no chance at a criminal record.

Q: What services are available at Fanshawe?
A: Students are encouraged to make an appointment by calling 519. 661-3352.

If a student has a concern that needs to be met right away, drop by my office and I will try to make time to resolve whatever may be of concern to you.

Some examples of what we do at the college are helping students with landlord-tenant issues. Civil suits that can be handled in court and are $10,000 or less or perhaps if you are having problems with a roommate, we can lend a helping hand. We are also very interested to hear from students who have experienced Police using extensive force while issuing a ticket.

Q. From your experience, do students know what to do when issued a ticket?
A: Receiving a ticket can be a scary experience, and some students know how to handle it better than others.

Q: What options do students have if ticketed?
A: Whether you have been ticketed for a provincial or criminal offense, we handle all claims in the same manner. First we find out if the individual who was ticketed had their rights violated and then we go from there. We analyze the ticket and determine what course of action we will take. Note that going to trial remains as the last option.

Q: What are the common mistakes a person makes when issued a ticket?
A: The common mistake we find is if a student has been summoned to appear in court, they don't read that on the ticket therefore making the courts issue a warrant for their arrest. We are also finding that students believe after receiving a ticket, they are presumed guilty. This is when we encourage students to seek legal help to sort out what's going on.

Q: In your experience, what are students being charged with that can be fought in court?
A: Some of the charges we deal with on a daily basis are as follow.

- Unlawful assembly,
- Obstructing a police officer,
- Resisting arrest,
- Causing a disturbance,
- Mischief,
- Assault,
- Drinking and driving.

These offenses are typical around Fanshawe College.

Q: What rights do students have?
A: Students have the same rights as everyone else residing in London. Whether it's a student from Western, Fanshawe or anyone in the community, they all have the same rights. Unfortunately Fanshawe students have given themselves a bad name by recent arrests mainly around Fleming Dr.

Q: Are Police targeting students legally? Is Project LEARN for students at Western and Fanshawe?
A: Project LEARN is in fact directed at Fanshawe and Western students. There is nothing unlawful about Police monitoring certain areas, as long as person's rights are not violated in the process.

Q: What kind of information should Police be giving to ticketed individuals on how to fight a ticket?
A: We encourage students to not look to Police for legal advice. Seek out the help of a professional legal rep who can explain your options.

We are a free service available to all Fanshawe students. We are here to advocate on your behalf. Law students are excellent at what they do, so the next time you find yourself in a bind, don't hesitate to seek our assistance. For further information or to book an appointment, please call 519-661-3352.
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