The Hamilton Spectator
Tuesday, September 1, 1998
pages A1,A6

CB trucker heard but not obscene

by Martin O'Hanlon

REGINA (CP) -- A trash talkin' trucker charged with swearing over his citizen's-ban radio has managed to steer clear of a conviction.

Judge Ace Chernyko acquitted Ron Schofield yesterday of violating the Radio Communications Act, which prohibits the transmission of obscene language.

The provincial court judge ruled, while Schofield did say "f--k" on the CB, the word is not obscene in itself.

"Since there is no evidence of the context in which the F-word was used, there's no evidence I can find to rule the word is obscene", he said.

"The Crown has not proved its case. I find the accused not guilty."

Schofield, of Regina, was charged in February by RCMP in nearby Broadview, Saskatchewan. He stood trial in June.

Nine other truckers have been charged with the same offence in the Broadview area over the last four years. Five were convicted after pleading guilty and four cases are before the courts.

Schofield acknowledged that he an another trucker used foul language, but he said the cursing was prompted by treacherous road conditions.

Cursing: 'It is a common man's word'

"We were running on black ice and in fog", he said after the verdict.

"I'm sure everybody else that has hit a patch of black ice, the first thing they do is curse.

"The way (the judge) put it, people have to start looking at the whole context ... because it is a common man's word. We all use it."

Heavy toll

Schofield said the case has taken a heavy toll -- he quit his job due to the pressure and is close to bankruptcy.

"Today has lifted a great weight off my shoulders", he said.

"I'm starting with a new company first thing (Tuesday) morning in Edmonton."

Schofield said he hopes police will now turn their attention to more serious matters.

However, Sgt. Jim Barr of the RCMP said the ruling won't change things.

"You have to remember that many of these cases were generated by complaints from the public", he said.

"If there are complaints, we'll always investigate them to our best ability."

"If charges were warranted they would probably be laid."

Prosecutor Dave Rusnak said it's too early to say if the Crown will appeal the ruling.

"I guess what (the judge) is saying is, depending on the context in which you use the word, it has a great deal of difference in its meaning."

"That's something that, based on the case law, we're going to have to have a look at and make a decision as to whether or not the Crown agrees with that decision."

Had he been convicted, Schofield would have faced a $5,000 fine and up to a year in jail.


Copyright © 1998 by The Canadian Press. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.