Supreme Court to hear case of woman arrested after not holding escalator handrail

Supreme Court to hear case of woman arrested after not holding escalator handrail

The Supreme Court of Canada agreed Thursday to hear the case of a woman who was ticketed and arrested after she refused instructions to hold onto an escalator handrail.

Bela Kosoian was in a subway station in the Montreal suburb of Laval in 2009 when a police officer told her to respect a pictogram with the instruction, “hold the handrail.”

She replied that she did not consider the image, which also featured the word “Careful,” to be an obligation. She refused to hold the handrail, and tensions mounted after she also refused to identity herself.

She was “taken by force” by the officer and another who had arrived as backup, according to court documents.

The officers detained Kosoian for about 30 minutes before letting her go with two tickets — one for $100 for disobeying a pictogram and another for $320 for having obstructed the work of an inspector.

She was acquitted of the two infractions in Montreal municipal court in 2012 and subsequently filed a $45,000 lawsuit against the Montreal Transit Corp., the City of Laval and one of the officers, Fabio Camacho.

Her suit was rejected by Quebec court in 2015 and by the Quebec Court of Appeal in 2017, which said Kosoian was the “author of her own misfortune.”

It will now be up to the country’s high court to settle the matter.

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