Cellphone ticket baffles senior with no phone

Laszlo Piszker told CBC News in March that he and his wife, Margaret, were pulled over by two city police officers on Portage Avenue and fined for using a cellphone while driving, even though they say they've never owned a cellphone. (Gavin Seal/CBC)

A Winnipeg couple is shaking their heads, wondering why they got a ticket for talking on a cellphone while driving — when they don't own a cellphone.

Laszlo Piszker and his wife, Margaret, were pulled over by two city police officers in the 2500 block of Portage Avenue on Friday.

Piszker was handed a $199.80 ticket, even after he urged the officers to search him and the car for any sign of a cellphone.

"I told them, 'Do whatever it takes. There's no phone in here; never has been. I don't know anything about the phone.' But they won't have it," he told CBC News.

"They were just going crazy, going to arrest me, and they were nasty to my wife as well."

Piszker, 74, said he is so technically challenged he wouldn't know how to use a cellphone if he did have one.

"I'm the stupidest man you ever talked to when it comes to electronics. I don't know anything about it," he said.

"I'm struggling to put the DVD on. The only thing anybody would find in my car is the garage opener."

Immediately after getting the ticket, the couple went to a nearby police station to complain.

Piszker said the officer there laughed and suggested the ticket was likely issued to fill a quota.

The couple intends to fight the ticket, which Margaret calls "ludicrous."

"We're not going to stand for this. It's just not right," she said, noting they are retired and on a fixed income.

"[The ticket] is a lot of money for anyone, but especially when you didn't do it."

Another Winnipeg motorist, Jody Nelson, said he was recently issued a ticket in St. Vital for using a cellphone while driving, even though he said he wasn't using his phone at the time.

Nelson said the police officer who gave him the ticket did provide an explanation. The officer did not provide a badge number, either, he added.

Nelson said he plans to fight the ticket in court, rather than pay the $200 fine.

"I got to go to my cellphone provider and make sure that they're sending me records," he said. "It's going to cost me to print up all the information."

Nelson said he believes the police are ticketing people simply to generate revenue.

"I'd like to see kind of some transparency," he said. "I get the feeling that even the officers might not even appear in court."

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