Earlier this month the High Court rejected a prosecution appeal against a Magistrates’ Court’s decision to find a motorist not guilty of speeding.
The Court restated quite an old principle of law and will be of interest to those being prosecuted for speeding where they have their own evidence of speed. It demonstrated that speeds shown by “approve devices” can be successfully challenged.
In this case the driver was detected travelling in a motor vehicle at a speed of 72 mph, in a 50 mph speed restriction area. That speed was recorded by a police officer using an approved ‘Trucam’ device.
The driver pleaded not guilty and his argument was that he had not been travelling at that speed and could prove it. He produced a print out from his GPS tracking device which recorded his speed along the same stretch of road. That showed a speed of 53-54mph.
At the conclusion of the evidence the legal adviser informed the magistrates that the police device was approved, calibrated and operating correctly and that the driver’s device had none of those features.
The magistrates found the driver to be a truthful witness and he was acquitted because the GPS tracker cast sufficient doubt on the evidence from the police officer.
The prosecution didn’t like the decision and appealed. The High Court rejected the appeal, saying it was up to the magistrates to decide which evidence they preferred, and that there was a reasonable doubt that the driver exceeded the speed limit.
There are a number of circumstances in which motorists may introduce evidence to rebut evidence from police operated devices ranging from speed detection devices to breath testing equipment. This case will help everyone, but it may well help some.