Elderly Man Wins Court Case After Receiving Three Tickets for Smoking in His Porsche

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
elderly man wins court case after receiving three tickets for smoking in his porsche

While places like New York and California might come to mind first, no one bans things quite like the jurisdictions north of the border. Banning, a popular pastime given the cold outside temperatures, are always done in the hazy pursuit of public safety. Something bad could happen? Ban it.

When it comes to smoking, few will disagree that smoking in the workplace can have a negative impact on employees. The same goes for restaurant and bar patrons. As non-smoking areas (both indoors and outdoors) expand across the U.S., here’s a cautionary tale of how vindictive and overzealous an enforcer of these law can be.

They’ll nab you in your car.

In sleepy London, Ontario, about two hours from Detroit or Buffalo, a 76-year-old man is probably puffing away right now, content in having beaten The Man. The bizarre case began last fall as Harry Kraemer, owner of Sparkles Cleaning Service, was sitting outside a coffee shop in his Porsche Cayenne.

Having just purchased donuts and a coffee, Kraemer lit up. According to the London Free Press, that cigarette netted him three workplace smoking infraction tickets potentially worth thousands of dollars. As Kraemer was the owner of Sparkles Cleaning Service, his personal Cayenne was registered to it. That made the interior of the Porsche a workplace.

Under Ontario’s anti-smoking laws, workplaces must remain smoke-free. In many locations it is illegal to smoke within nine meters of an exterior door of a business, public place or an outdoor bus stop. Many cities have enacted outdoor smoking bans that even make puffing in a deserted, windy park a crime, let alone on a patio. Province-wide, it is illegal to smoke in a purpose-built outdoor smoking shelter that has more than two walls and a roof.

Smoking while standing outside that purpose-built smoking shelter, in the rain, is probably fine. Vindictive? Many see it that way.

So far, Ontario’s laws have yet to creep into personal vehicles — except when persons aged 16 or younger are present — so normally a person in Mr. Kraemer’s situation would have nothing to worry about. Sitting in a coffee shop parking lot, having a butt, not bothering anyone. However, taken to the extreme, the law stated that the interior of his business-registered vehicle — which no one drove but himself — was a workplace. Kraemer technically isn’t even an employee. He’s a shareholder.

The Smoke-Free Ontario enforcement officer who ticketed him wasn’t in the mood to see it any other way. Kraemer was fined three times. The charges included: smoking in an enclosed workplace, failing to have a no-smoking sign in his Cayenne, and failing to properly supervise a workplace.

With money to spare, Kraemer fought the tickets tooth and nail. As of last week, the Provincial Offences Court ruled in his favor, putting an end to what his lawyer called a massive waste of taxpayer’s money.

“The justice of the peace said, ‘I haven’t heard one shred of evidence that that car was ever used for business for Sparkles,'” Kraemer told the Free Press, adding he suspects he knows why the tickets landed in his lap. He blames “smoking cops” who were out to get him.

About six months earlier, an anti-smoking enforcement officer examined his place of business, discovering a cigarette butt in an ashtray in the desk drawer of his second-floor office. Kraemer claims he only smokes with the window open and fan on, with employees below being none the wiser. The ashtray’s contents landed him $700 in fines.

“I verbally told him to get the hell out of my office and I said some very nasty things maybe, I don’t know,” he claimed. It would seem his words weren’t well received. “We’ll be back,” the officer told him.

When Kraemer was nabbed while smoking in his Cayenne, the officer claimed in court he was working on an “anonymous tip” that compelled him to follow the Porsche from the suspect’s place of work to the coffee shop, where he then sat on him until Kraemer’s lighter touched the end of that white, tobacco-filled cylinder. Remember this when someone tells you Canada isn’t overregulated. To bolster that claim, a program manager at a local publicly funded health unit claims the officer wasn’t out of line for charging Kraemer.

There’s a reason Red Barchetta was written by a Canadian band.

This cautionary tale is now over. Tread carefully.

[Image: Porsche]

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  • TDIGuy TDIGuy on May 10, 2017

    I'm not surprised this happened in London, ON. It is the place where everybody got bent out shape about "Muslim writing" on the police cars. In reality various police vehicles have the word "police" written on them in different languages, including Arabic.

  • Rick T. Rick T. on May 10, 2017

    With apologies to Bob Dylan Well, they'll fine you when you're trying to be so good They'll fine you just like they said they would They'll fine you when you're trying to go home And they'll fine you when you're there all alone But I would not feel so all alone Everybody must get fined Well, they'll fine you when you're walking on the street They'll fine you when you're tryin' to keep your seat They'll fine you when you're walkin' on the floor They'll fine you when you're walkin' to the door But I would not feel so all alone Everybody must get fined They'll fine you when you're at the breakfast table They'll dine you when you are young and able They'll fine you when you're tryin' to make a buck Then they'll fine you and then they'll say "good luck" Tell ya what, I would not feel so all alone Everybody must get fined Well, they’ll fine you and say that it’s the end Then they’ll fine you and then they’ll come back again They’ll fine you when you’re riding in your car They’ll fine you when you’re playing your guitar Yes, but I would not feel so all alone Everybody must get fined alright Well, they’ll fine you when you walk all alone They’ll fine you when you are walking home They’ll fine you and then say you are brave They’ll fine you when you are set down in your grave But I would not feel so all alone Everybody must get fined

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