SPEEDING DEFENCES 3: Is incorrect use of a speed measuring device a valid defence against conviction for speeding?


Latest information on why and how hand held speed guns can give false readings at the bottom of the page:


If you feel that your vehicle has been incorrectly identified by an ANPR camera for a speeding or bus lane or traffic light offence, you can appeal to the Traffic Penalty Adjudicators.

They always suggest that (in line with the Regulations) councils review the video footage and not just the still images before issuing a PCN by post and give full consideration to any representations made.

If a motorist is not happy with the outcome of their representations to the local authority they always have the right to appeal to an independent adjudicator.

The Traffic Penalty Tribunal considers appeals from motorists against parking and bus lane PCNs issued in England (outside London) and Wales www.trafficpenaltytribunal.gov.uk

Where an ANPR camera recorded a speeding offence, without any further supporting evidence, readers are strongly to challenge ANPR evidence where there is no other factual evidence. All police force equipment only has to comply with the National ACPO ANPR Standards (NAAS) which allow a misreading rate of 2.5%. That's one car in forty. Challenge the evidence in court and ask that the police prove your car was not one of the one-in-forty misread. 


In answer to the question: Is incorrect use of a speed measuring device a valid defence against conviction for speeding?, it has proved to be in at least two cases.

A BBC programme "Inside Out" reported on the unsafe readings from certain speed cameras. On 19th January 2007 this was followed up with another story with real evidence that the LT1 20:20 can give quite serious mis-readings when the laser is moved just fractionally when pointed at a moving vehicle. This was highlighted where the condemned driver won his case in court, when it was found that the operator could easily have used the camera in the incorrect way. It is (temporarily) available for viewing at this BBC link www.bbc.co.uk/insideout/west/index.shtml

This is the text from the website, obviously copyright of the BBC, repeated here in case the link is withdrawn:

Can the Camera Lie?

Lots of people hate speed cameras, but Swindon's Dave Lyall has more reason than most.

He was accused of doing 59 mph in a 50 zone, but was sure that he wasn't speeding.

Unusually, he went to court and showed the speed camera had got it wrong.

Mr Lyall was found not guilty, the first time a court had upheld doubts about the reliability of these cameras.

Inside Out first exposed a possible flaw with the mobile speed guns back in 2005.

In our previous programme laser expert Dr Michael Clark showed how innocent motorists can be prosecuted for speeding.

It's a bit technical, but Dr Clark exposed a problem called 'slip effect'.

Camera reading Prone to error? How reliable are mobile speed cameras?

Dr Clark looked at the possibility that if the gun's distance measurements start at the back of a vehicle and finish at the front, this could add the car's length to the apparent distance travelled.

Amazingly, this can add up to 30 mph to the recorded speed.

Back then, the UK manufacturer of the most common laser gun used in the UK, the LTi 20 20, told us it would be impossible to get a false reading due to slip on a moving vehicle.

But we also asked an engineering professor how easy it would be for an operator 500 yards away to miss the front of a vehicle with the laser beam and instead hit the side - where slip is more likely.

Professor Brignell from Warminster told us that just the movement created by pressing the trigger could result in a false reading.

Legal history

Before our programme went out, several cases had been dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service but no drivers had ever challenged the cameras and won.

Dave Lyall - groundbreaking legal case on mobile cameras

Now Dave Lyall's case has made legal history.

Together with his solicitor and Dr Clark as an expert witness, David fought his case at Devizes magistrates court.

Dr Clark said he believed Mr Lyall was the victim of a slip error which the gun's built in error trapping software didn't detect.

Mr Lyall was found not guilty.

Laser gun

Inside Out wanted to see if we could demonstrate Dr Clark's theory using an American version of the laser gun.

Gareth Pritchard was also accused of speeding after being clocked by another type of Home Office approved laser gun.

Like Swindon's Dave Lyall, Gareth was sure he was innocent and challenged the fixed penalty:

"I know I was not speeding, I was not going to lose my license or anything, but just a question of principles."

Dr Clark was Mr Pritchard's expert.

Unlike Dave Lyall, Gareth lost at the magistrates court - but he then appealed to the Crown Court and won.

Now a higher court had agreed that the cameras can't always be trusted.

Inside Out took Dr Clark to a test track to show how these cameras can lie.

Police Response

Meredydd Hughes, Chief Constable & Head of the ACPO Uniformed Operations Business Area responded to Inside Out's findings as follows:

"ACPO has complete confidence in the accuracy of all Home Office Type Approved laser speed measurement devices when used in an approved manner by a trained operator.

"The so called scientific tests we have seen in the media resemble a blindfolded child being given a precision rifle. They do not reflect the correct use of the equipment by a trained operator and are therefore misleading.

"The specific court cases mentioned all relate to cases where either the court did not accept the competence of the operator; or the prosecution did not have an expert available; or a procedural (i.e. administrative) error occurred.

"No defence has yet succeeded in demonstrating that the equipment is inherently inaccurate, and we remain confident this will remain the case.

"Viewers of this programme might like to note that the lengthy, scientific and practical Home Office Type Approval process is administered by public servants - Police Officers, staff and scientists - who have no vested interests in the equipment, and are not seeking business from motorists - unlike the critics featured.

"We have often rejected equipment which has proved unreliable or inaccurate when tested.

"Since issuing further guidance to Police Officers and prosecutors, the opportunities for exploiting administrative errors have reduced significantly.

"All challenges to the accuracy of the equipment itself (we believe) have been defeated with costs to the defendants in some instances excess of £3,000.

"Home Office Type Approved Devices used for speed measurement have provided the Police service with a valuable and accurate road safety tool and the use of such devices has undisputedly influenced the speed of motorists which has in turn saved many lives."

Another conviction quashed on evidence inaccurate speed gun

Daily Mall, Thursday, January 25,2007

By Ray Massey Transport Editor

A MOTORIST had his conviction for speeding quashed yesterday (24-1-07) after a court found the speed gun used to prosecute him may have been inaccurate.

It is the second time this month that a case has been thrown out after problems with the hand-held police device were highlighted.

A third case is under way that could prove the final nail in the coffin for the controversial LTI 20-20 speed-trap, which has been used to prosecute thousands of drivers.

A growing body of evidence against the laser device is putting intense pressure on the police and the Government to withdraw it.

Yet it remains popular with forces across the country.

In the latest case, Brian Wiltshire, 48, was clocked by an LTI 20-20 yards from his home near Caton in Lancashire last year.

It showed he was driving at 39mph in a 50mph zone.

He pleaded not guilty to the offence, but was convicted in June.

However, he was adamant he was driving within the limit and contested the ruling.

His lawyers argued he had no case to answer because the officer operating the device had not done the correct checks beforehand.

The conviction was overturned by a Judge at Preston Crown Court after experts confirmed that the speed guns could give Incorrect readings if they are not set up

Last night Paul Smith, of road safety campaign group Safe Speed, said: "This could spell the death knell of one of Britain's most notorious speed traps.

Laser Speed meters do make mistakes - I've seen them with my own eyes. It all adds to the crisis of confidence and the Home Office must withdraw them."

A Daily Mail investigation two years ago exposed glitches in the way the camera can work.

It clocked a parked car at 22mph and a wall at 44mph, while a bicycle at walking pace registered 66mph.

Earlier this month, David Lyall had his speeding conviction quashed after a two-year battle to convince the courts he was driving below the 30mph limit.

Magistrates found the LTI 20-20 failed to spot a lamp-post which interfered with its beam.

Mr Lyall, a 58-year-old technology development manager, was driving from Swindon to nearby Highworth when police targeted him on the dual carriageway. A few days later, he received a £60 penalty notice accusing him of driving at 59mph and imposing three points.

Eventually he was cleared at Devizes Magistrates' Court, where Dr Michael Clark, an expert on speed cameras, concluded that Mr Lyall was wrongly convicted.

Dr Clark said of that case: "It was a landmark ruling because the court was unhappy with the error trapping device, which did not kick in when it was supposed to.

'Mr Lyall was not driving above the speed limit. I believe there are thousands of motorists who have been wrongly caught out."

Attention is now focused on a case in Hull which could well make or break the camera's future.

Darren Fernie, 40, from Lincoln, is accused of breaking the speed limit on the A63 in Hull in October 2004.

He was caught by an LTI20-20 in the back of a marked police van parked at the side of the road.

Fernie is alleged to have been doing 49mph in a 40mph speed limit but disputes the conviction and insists the equipment was not fit for purpose and was not used correctly on the day he was caught. Tele-Traffic, which manufactures the speed gun, says the Home Office had approved it only after "many thousands of

From Motor Cycle News 7-2-2007:-

Speed Gun maker admits to flaws under oath, he says laser guns could
give incorrect readings - juust as we proved in tests last year.


A SPEED camera bosshas finally admitted that his equipment is capable of getting speeds wrong if guidelines are not strictly followed.

It means riders accused of speeding will have a better chance of proving their innocence if they can show the guidelines were not followed, according to lawyers involved in the case.

The boss of the firm that makes laser detectors used in speed camera vans was cornered into admitting how a hand held version of the device, called an LTI 20.20 Ultralyte, can give incorrect readings by a sharp-witted barrister at Preston Crown Court.

Frank Garratt, owner of Tele- Traffic UK Ltd, which makes the laser speed detector, finally acknowledged errors similar to those we highlighted last year when we used an LTI20.20 to get a reading of 40mph for a stationary bike.
Garratt acknowledged four ways the devices could be wrong:

He admitted they could exaggerate a vehicle's speed if they are not held steadily and the laser beam slips along the side of the vehicle - a phenomena known as "slip effect". Presented with evidence of an incorrect reading of 36mph for a vehicle travelling 29mph, he said: "This was probably slip effect off the side of the vehicle." He accepted the argument that if the laser beam was not aligned with the crosshair in the view finder, used by operators to target vehicles, then the speed of the wrong vehicle 'could be measured, In response to the argument, put by defence barrister Katherine Hodson, he said: "In strict academic theory, you're right, yes," He said operators must regularly check the crosshair is aligned with the centre of the beam to eliminate the potential for the wrong vehicle to be picked up, He said: "The salient point there is that the device should be properly aligned," . He admitted that where two vehicles fell within the spread of the laser beam, the device could pick up the speed of the nearer one even when aimed at the furthest one. Hodson said: "Let me put it this way, Mr Garratt, if two vehicles were travelling down the road within the range of the beam spread... it is possible that even if the officer aimed for the vehicle furthest away the device would lock on to the nearest vehicle." Garratt replied: "There are two principles... in broad principle I agree with it." In MCN tests last March we aimed an LTI20.20 at a stationary bike and the device consistendy picked up the speed of a passing car instead.

Garratt admitted the beam could be reflected off one vehicle and measure the speed of another. He said this would not happen if the beam struck a number plate but admitted it was possible with more irregular surfaces. His Honour Judge Woolman suggested it was more likely to happen with "angled polished surfaces" and Garratt responded: "Yes, indeed." Bikes are often targeted by the lasers from the front, where there are only different angled polished surfaces and no number plate. Garratt claimed an incorrect reading would only be obtained where the vehicle being targeted was stationary.

Garratt insisted the errors could only occur where the device was not operated according to guidelines set out by the Association of Chief Police Officers and the manufacturers. He said:

'''Like any device, unless it's operated within the 'prescribed parameters it may well not perform in the way that you would expect it to do." Garratt's cross examination was at Presion Crown Court on January 19, 2007.

Brian Wiltshire, the accused in the case, had been said to caught driving at 39mph in a 30 zone on Brookhouse Road, Caton, Lancaster, in October 2005. The appeal was allowed.

Garratt declined to speak to MCN.

Wiltshire's solicitor, Jeanette Miller, told MCN that Garratt's admissions could help others challenge cases if they can show that procedures set out in guidelines, such as the alignment check, had not been followed.

See the entire transcript of Garratt's cross examination on our website at www.motorcyclenews.com

Speeding Ticket Defences Check List From Safe Speed

Motorist's Prosecution Checklist:

* The speed limit must be correctly signed in accordance with the regulations (Folly Bottom, Wylye, North Wales, Cleveland, Starcross and others)

* A speed limit order must apply correctly to the location in question. (Lincolnshire, London, North Wales and others)

* The paperwork must be correct and in accordance with all laws and regulations. (Dorset, Cleveland)

* The paperwork must be delivered on time

* The Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) cannot be served by second class post. (South Wales)

* Papers to issue a summons must be laid within 6 months of the date of alleged offence.

* The equipment must be calibrated correctly.

* The operator must use the equipment in accordance with rules and guidelines.

* The operator must form a prior opinion of speed in excess of a speed limit.

* Arguably only a Police constable is qualified to form a prior opinion of speed in excess of a posted speed limit.

* Communications equipment must be switched off while measurements of speed are taken (including the operator's mobile phone).

* The site must be suitable (restrictions include near power lines)

* The equipment must be working properly.

* Evidence must be disclosed to the defence 7 days before the trial on request or it becomes inadmissible.

* If you don't know who the driver was at the time of the alleged offence you may well have a statutory defence in RTOA1988 S172(4) as amended

* The court must be impartial (And since the Magistrate's Court Service are usually a camera partnership member it is far from clear that the court has the required degree of impartiality.)

* The process must not breach your Human Rights.

* In the case of Gatso fixed speed cameras the transit of the calibration marks in the two photographs must match the speed recorded by the radar speed meter.

* The prosecution must turn up in court with the correct paperwork.

* Witness statements cannot be signed by machine. (North Wales)

* The LTI20.20 (common laser speed meter used in virtually all mobile speed camera vans) is subject to various operating anomalies, notably 'slip effect'.

A failure in any of these areas will usually be fatal to a prosecution case.

9th October 2007, Report by Steve Farell in Motorcycle News

Police suspend use of all laser speed guns – and ban officers from exceeding 100mph
By Steve Farrell

Police in Kent have suspended use of all laser speed guns following a court case, MCN can exclusively reveal.

An email sent globally to all officers in south Kent, leaked to MCN, stated: ‘Following a court case at Folkestone yesterday and in liaison with the Criminal Justice Unit (traffic) a review of speed enforcement policy is to be made regarding the use of all laser speed guns in South Kent.

‘Pending this review, NO further FPN’s [fixed penalty notices] or summons should be issued.’

A source has told MCN the action is force-wide.

The email was dated October 4 and said it was hoped the review would be completed within two weeks. It was signed by roads policing officer Phil Sharp and said officers would be notified of ‘any changes in policy required before any further enforcement takes place’.

A second email to all south Kent officers stated that standard police drivers may not exceed 100mph. The email, from area driving examiner Ian Clark, said: ‘Standard Drivers/Riders are trained to drive/ride response vehicles up to, and not exceeding, a speed of 100mph. Therefore, Standard Drivers/Riders will be required to justify their actions if found to be travelling in excess of the 100mph speed limit. Only accredited Advanced Drivers/Riders may exceed speeds of 100mph.’

On 9th October MCN was awaiting an official response from Kent Police. The force had not confirmed whether the suspension includes LTI 20.20 laser speed detectors used in speed camera vans.

WARNING By late October 2007 Kent police had been retrained in the use of their laser guns and were back in action with them.

Speed Camera Illegal For 10 years

On 17-11-2007, the Western Morning News reported that a speed camera on the A35 at Chideock, Dorset has been ruled as illegal due to eroneous paperwork. The camera and its 50,000 speeding fines (amounting to some £3,000,000) appears to have been illegally operating for 10 years. The "flash zone" was apparently incorrectly registered meaning that the associated speed limit was invalid and therefore could not be 'enforced' by the device. The Dorset Safety Camera Partnership are awaiting the advice of the Crown Prosecution Service but there seemed to be some indication of a possible refund of fines to individuals.

300 get refunds in 'unsafe' speed trap

January 2008, By Paul Fielding

POLICE are handing back 300 fines to drivers after speed guns were found to be wrongly set up. The Lancashire force has been order to rescind the fines, including
those for drivers on the Fylde, after a probe by an independent police watchdog.

Anti-speed camera campaigners say lives could have been ruined by the faulty cameras as motorists risked bans which could cost them their living.

Driver Stephen Hunter, of Devonshire Road, Blackpool, received a cheque for £185 and had four points removed from his licence after being caught by a speed gun on Clifton Drive, South Shore, on July 18 2007.

He said: "This is a very serious thing to have happened. Luckily for me, the points I got did not mean I lost my licence but it could have for some people and that can be their livelihood gone. I was on my way to work at 7.20am when the camera supposedly caught me. I was re-doing my mortgage and my wife was getting ready to go abroad for work so with all that going on I overlooked paying the fine. So because it went to court I had to pay £150 with £35 costs. I just accepted it but this shows that actually if you get a speeding ticket perhaps you should question it. If people think they weren't speeding, they need to check instead of just taking it for granted when you get a letter through saying you were speeding."

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) launched an investigation last autumn after allegations that a member of staff had incorrectly calibrated mobile speed cameras and that four members of staff had failed to process court documents correctly at Lancashire Police's central processing unit in Blackburn.

An IPCC spokesman confirmed Mr Hunter was one of the people identified through the investigation.

The spokesman said: "The IPCC can confirm that the process of rescinding speeding tickets has begun as a result of information uncovered during the investigation into allegations that a member of Lancashire Constabulary staff had incorrectly calibrated mobile speed cameras.

"The investigation is ongoing, but Lancashire Constabulary has written to approximately 300 motorists whose convictions have been deemed unsafe."

Lancashire Police refused to comment until the investigation was concluded.

The full article contains 384 words and appears in Blackpool Gazette newspaper.Last Updated: 08 January 2008 9:13 AM


New section added 18-4-2008:

The Road Traffic Act 1991 at section 23 introduced an amended Section 20 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.

The old section 20 only required that devices were approved by the Secretary of State. This took the form of a department document called an 'Approval' which gave a specific description of the device and was issued by the Home Secretary. With the expansion of the speed measuring industry/scam, an attempt was made to control the quality of admissible information from such devices. Three years later the new
section 20 consisted of ten subsections, the last two of which are critical but were not properly applied by civil servants.

Section 23 Speeding offences etc: admissibility of certain evidence

(4) A record produced or measurement made by a prescribed device shall not be admissible as evidence of a fact relevant to proceedings for an offence to which this section applies unless

(a) the device is of a type approved by the Secretary of State, and (b) any conditions subject to which the approval was given are satisfied

(9) In this section "prescribed device" means device of a description
specified in an order made by the Secretary of State.

(10) The powers to make orders under subsections (3) and (9) above shall be exercisable by statutory instrument, which shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament."

No such Statutory Instruments have ever been posted, identifying particular devices as opposed to generic types (e.g. radar, transverse light beams, rubber strips) or locations (bus lane, traffic lights). Subsection (9) calls for specific descriptions, as on the previous 'approvals', to be transferred to Parliamentary Orders. 'Worked by radar' is not specific to the measuring device so laboriously tested by the Home Office scientists. 'Used in a bus lane' is equally inadequate.

The last condition describes 'negative resolution' whereby the instrument is posted on the common walls of both Houses for 14 days and becomes law if unchallenged. It must then be registered with the UK Registrar of S.Is at Admiralty House and printed for sale with a bar-code etc. There should be over 40 S.I.s, one for each device supposedly approved.

IN THE CROWN COURT AT NORTHAMPTONCase No: A20050106 85/87 Lady's Lane Northampton Northamptonshire NN1 3HQ England
Friday, 3rd November 2006 Before: HIS HONOUR JUDGE P MORRELL

Transcribed from tape by Harry Counsell & Co Official Court Reporters
Cliffords Inn, Fetter Lane, London, EC4A 1 LD
Telephone: 0207 269 0370

MISS L. FAIRCLOUGH appeared on behalf of the PROSECUTION
MR C. BURTON appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT


JUDGE MORRELL: This appellant Gregory Moroney-Barnett appeals against a conviction by him by the Daventry Magistrates, on 22 August 2005, for driving on the A6 bypass at speed of 60 miles per hour, whereas the limit on that road at the material time is 50 miles per hour. The appeal has had a chequered history and it is a matter of regret that the matter has not been disposed of long before now. In part Mr Burton who appears on behalf of the appellant says that it is that delay which finally persuaded his client that he ought not pursue this appeal any further because it is imposing strains on him and upon his family. And the court has sympathy for that and underline the importance and this is a remark addressed generally to all those who are concerned with the administration of criminal justice of bringing cases speedily to court. Justice denied is justice delayed.

The brief circumstances are that in this case the appellant was offered the opportunity of a fixed penalty of £60. Because his case is that he was not exceeding the speed limit he decided to contest that in the Magistrates Court. Upon the submission made by Mr Burton it would appear, although I made no finding about that, that the hearing in the Magistrates' Court which the appellant conducted in person was an unhappy and unsatisfactory experience, not because he was convicted, but because he certainly appeals that he was not given a proper opportunity to air his case. Whether that be right or if that be wrong the position seems to me to be this; that if someone has a fixed penalty and chooses to contest it then they take the risk that if they fail they will be ordered to pay the costs which have been incurred even if they appear in person by the Prosecution in dealing with that case, and the costs in this case were £364. But it seems to this court wrong in principal to further penalise the motorist for bringing a matter before the court by imposing a fine upon him which is greater than the fine in the fixed penalty which was available and which would have disposed of the matter. There seems, to this court, to be a fundamental injustice in that and it operates effectively as a deterrent to people bringing their cases before the court. Of course there is a deterrent in the sense that an unsuccessful litigant would have to pay the costs but he or she should not have to face a penalty which is any greater than the penalty which was on offer in the first place. Mr Burton on behalf of the appellant seeks leave to abandon his appeal against conviction. That leave is granted. He pursues his appeal against the sentence and the sentence will be varied and the fine of £200 will be reduced to £60.

That leaves the issue of costs. The costs in the Magistrates' Court of £364 if the appropriate penalty in the judgment of this court had been imposed then there would have been no need for him to have appealed against that portion of it. The penalty of the costs which are generally imposed for an uncontested guilty plea in the Magistrates' Court is £35 and in my judgment the costs which Mr Moroney-Barnett should have to pay the Prosecution in respect to the Magistrates' Court proceedings should be reduced by that amount and therefore the costs in the Magistrates' Court will be £329. The cost in this court of Prosecution, excluding the expert, amounts to £210 and Mr Moroney-Barnett should have to pay that. That leaves the costs of the Prosecution's so-called expert. I say so-called expert, it should be apparent from the submissions which have been made and the discussions which I have had with counsel that Mr Garret[?] can not be considered an independent expert if it be the case that the efficacy of the machine in question, which he is responsible for marketing in this country, is under attack. It is appropriate in those circumstances for there to be an entirely independent view of the efficacy of the machine. Dr Clarke falls into that category. This court makes no judgement as to whether Dr Clarke's opinion that the machine is defective is right or wrong, although it notes that on occasions his argument has succeeded before court. But in the judgement of this court, Mr Garratt can not be regarded, in these circumstances , as being a truly independent expert and one whom that in the circumstances, could have been of assistance to the court when it came to the issue of the efficacy of the machine simply because he has a very substantial financial interest in the outcome of that dispute and therefore the in outcome of this appeal he was not an appropriate man for the Prosecution to instruct and his cost of £823 would be disallowed. The respondent, the appellant therefore will be liable for the costs in the sum £539. He will receive £35 back; does he need any time to pay? 28 days? 28 days very well. Thank you very much indeed, m only final remark is that I am personally disappointed that I did not have an opportunity of trying the case.

Court rises

The 'Irn Bru Defence'

(Added 5-7-2008) Angus Macdonald writes:- (e-mail: a.macdon@btinternet.com)

Courts in Scotland and England could face thousands of appeals by motorists convicted of speeding offences using what has been described as the 'Irn Bru Defence'. A Scottish justice campaigner has identified a legal problem which he says makes evidence from speed measuring devices inadmissible in court.

Robbie the Pict said that none of the measuring devices commonly used by the police had the required approval by Parliament, and are therefore illegal. His arguments are being used by an English barrister in four cases so far, five cases are pending in Scotland, and inquiries have been made from Northern Ireland where solicitors also want to use the argument to defend their clients.

Robbie the Pict said that everyone charged with speeding can challenge the charge themselves without having to go to a solicitor. "If anyone receives a letter notifying them of a £60 fine and three points on their licence on the basis of video-graphic evidence, the first step is to write and ask for the Parliamentary Order covering the device which produced the evidence. Everyone can do that for the price of a stamp. This is the 'Irn Bru Defence' because it was made in Scotland and it promises to throw a girder, not just a spanner, into the legal works," he said.

A document submitted by barrister Michael Shrimpton to Kingston Magistrates Court, in defence of a client, states: "Section 20 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act, as originally enacted, provided for ministerial approval of radar devices.... On 1st July 1992 there was a major change in the law, as a result of the coming into force of Section 23 of the Road Traffic Act 1991. Approval by the Secretary of State was no longer sufficient. Under the new Section 20 approval had to be by Statutory Instrument laid before Parliament under the negative resolution procedure set out in Section 5 of the Statutory Instruments Act 1946, an Act of constitutional importance, providing as it does for Parliamentary scrutiny of ministerial orders."

The document also pays tribute to Robbie the Pict for having spotted the legal problems with the evidence submitted from such devices. The document states: "This point has been judicially determined to be arguable in two cases before the High Court of Justiciary in Scotland, 'Pict v. Procurator Fiscal Annan' and 'Cormack v. Procurator Fiscal Portree'. A further case, Pict v. CPS, has been stated by the Nottingham Justices for the High Court in England. I have been asked to accept the brief in that case and have indicated my willingness to do so. I am grateful to the solicitors in Scotland, where the point was first raised (by Mr. Pict in person it has to be said, if I may say so a most commendable piece of legal research, although no one who knows him, as I do, would be at all surprised)."

Robbie the Pict said the ramifications of the cases were far-reaching. "There are five cases so far in Scotland where this defence is being used. Two have already been submitted to a higher court. There are another six in England at the moment and more are coming in. There has also been an inquiry from Northern Ireland. It is estimated that around 10 million prosecutions including fixed penalty cases have been based on speed measuring devices, which were not approved according to the law. That means compensation running into hundreds of millions of pounds for fines charged. Then there are many thousands of people who have lost their jobs, their homes and maybe even their marriages because of speeding convictions based on evidence from illegal measuring equipment," he said.

He said that he was willing to help anyone who faced conviction on what he regarded as an illegal basis. Robbie the Pict said: "After 12 years of studying this type of legislation, I'm now operating a community law office, called Skye Law, on a voluntary basis. Skye Law cannot, by law, be paid for legal advice. However, if you are being prosecuted for speeding we can give legal information to you or your solicitor for the public good. 'Robbie the Pict, IV55 8GU' on an envelope will find us."

New Mandatory Sentencing Guidelines

"On 4th August 2008 new mandatory sentencing guidelines come into force in magistrates courts in England and Wales. These will apply to all offences sentenced on or after this date and magistrates, unlike previously, have a statutory duty to have regard to the guidelines. The level of fines relate directly to nett weekly income (gross income less tax and national insurance) and where no income is disclosed, average weekly earnings of £350 will now be assumed. As a consequence, a motorist with a nett weekly income of say £500 appearing in court for driving at 41 mph in a 30 mph zone can expect a fine in the range £375 - £625 (75 - 125% of nett weekly income up to a maximum of £5000), with £500 being the usual starting point, plus either 4-6 penalty points or 7-28 days disqualification. For a defective tyre, the guideline fine is also 75-125% of nett weekly income, up to a maximum of £2500 plus 3 penalty points . This is for each defective tyre. For using a mobile phone whilst driving, the fine is 25-75% of nett weekly income which typically will equate to £175 for our 'average earner' +3 points. In all cases, the fine may be reduced by up to a third for a 'timely' guilty plea and a victim surcharge (£15) + costs will also be payable. Police will of course continue to have the option where appropriate of issuing fixed penalty notices which take no account of income. Whilst not in any way condoning motoring or any other offence, the new sentencing regime will undoubtedly see much higher fines being imposed by the courts." A JP, Sussex

Exchange between Robbie the Pict and Idris Francis 13-8-2008

Defence Information v. Speedmeter and Camera Prosecutions.

CAVEAT - It is important to stress that the following information is just that - information. If you are a qualified lawyer or experienced party defendant you will know what to do with it. If not you should contact a competent solicitor. That is the only piece of legal advice given.

STATUTORY PROVISIONS (all underlining by this writer)

Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, Section 20 provided the early standard of approval for any speed-measuring device which was intended to provide information about speed which would be admissible as evidence in a court of law. That information could therefore be used to threaten a person with prosecution unless he paid a fine and accepted an endorsement.

“Section 20 Admissibility of measurement of speed by radar

On the prosecution of a person for any speeding offence, evidence of the measurement of any speed by a device designed or adapted for measuring by
radar the speed of motor vehicles shall not be admissible unless the device is of a type approved by the Secretary of State.”

The Road Traffic Act 1991 at Section 23, which came into force in July 1992, raised the standard of type approval much higher, expanding the above section 20 from the 1988 Act into ten sub-sections. We are principally concerned with sss. (4), (9) and (10).

“(4) A record produced or measurement made by a prescribed device shall not be admissible as evidence of a fact relevant to proceedings for an offence to which this section applies unless

(a) the device is of a type approved by the Secretary of State, and

(b) any conditions subject to which the approval was given are satisfied.

(9) In this section “prescribed device” means device of a description specified in an order made by the Secretary of State.

(10) The powers to make orders under subsections (3) and (9) above shall be exercisable by statutory instrument, which shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.”

In plain speech, any speed-measuring device or camera which is depended upon to produce speed measurement or photographic evidence must be the specific subject of a description in a Parliamentary Order. These so-called ‘Statutory Instruments’ (S.I.s are effectively mini-Acts of Parliament) must be posted in both Houses of Parliament for 14 days and thus subject to any challenge before becoming law. They are then recorded in the UK Statutory Instruments Register by their number and year of origin.

To date this higher standard of requirement has been totally ignored by the Home Office. The only attempt at compliance with the law has been the issue of some ‘generic’ S.I.s, a lazy attempt to cover over 40 specific devices with half a dozen Orders. Even they are in chaos. Two of them concern locations instead of devices. One of them concerns transverse ‘light beams’ and is being claimed as ‘generic’ authorisation for all laser pulse devices a completely different technology. As with laser, there is no Order approving any type of average speed camera at all.

In the personal opinion of this writer there is therefore ‘no case to answer’ on the grounds that there is no admissible evidence upon which to mount a criminal prosecution, or extort monies and issue expensive endorsements. These actions
could be described as ‘malfeasance in public office’ on the part of the police and the Crown’s prosecution officers. These professions can hardly claim that they did not know the law. They are charged with administering the law daily!

© Robbie the Pict. 2007.

Comments by Idris, withour prejudice as I am not a lawyer:

1/ If I received a speeding summons or NIP and I had been driving at the relevant time I would confirm that I had been driving that vehicle at the specified time, but ask for the specific details of the equipment which had supposedly measured the speed, and the precise details of the Statutory Instrument authorising the use of that reading in evidence, citing the relevant law as above.

2/ The authorities being highly unliikely to admit formally that no such authorisation exists, they might instead just drop the case. If they did not, I would then plead not guilty on the grounds that there is no admissible evidence of the speed, and ask either that the case be held over until the law is clarified in several such cases currently before the courts, or that my case be joined with those others.

3/ In the event that Robbie's logic is upheld in court then even penalty based on the inadmissible evidence of such devices will be null and void and the authorities will be at risk of tens of millions of claims not only for refunds and costs, removal of penalty points from drivers' records but also for damages to those whose lives and work have been disrupted by these penalties. I have already advised my solicitor that he should act for me in filing such claims if and when the legal arguments are won.

4/ At least one judge has commented that a trial is not a battle of wits to win a case but a search for the truth. That being the case both prosecution and defence are required by law to advise their opponents of any relevant information which might affect the verdict. It seems to me that the CPS and individual prosecutors who have been perfectly well aware of these arguments for months but have continued to
prosecute without mentioning these problems to the defence are now and will be at increasingly grave risk of contempt of court or worse offences if they continue to ignore these problems In my view they, and the lawyers and administrators responsible for this grotesque failure of process will potentially be liable to be charged with maladministration, misfeasance and/or malfeasance in public office, breach of statutory duty of care and other offences.

Idris Francis

Further notes from Reg Oliver, received 20-10-2008

I refer to your reader's persons request for information with regards to his
intending NIP. I can confirm that he is entitled "to view" the data on request to
the issuing camera office at a pre-arranged date and time. It may also be of
interest that these operations (cameras) should not be used in automatic mode and so a logical viewing would be of the previous and his own offence to ascertain if this
was the case. If he is contesting the case in court then he can demand "a copy" of
the offence. He is also entitled to view the calibration certificate of the camera.
I would advise that if he contests the case that he enquires of the experience of
those who operated the camera and how he (the officer) calibrated the unit. I hope
the above may be of some use to him. Please also advise him that Derbyshire are now using covert mobile cameras in plain vans. They are getting desperate to justify
their existence and their wages.

Solicitors specialising in defending alleged motoring offences:



Caught Speeding?
www.motoringlawyers.com Expert team of solicitors fight for your driving licence

Freeman Keep On Driving
www.freemankeepondriving.com Swift legal assistance with driving offences

Speeding? we can help you
www.motoringmatters.com Facing a speeding summon? talk to the experts now for legal advice

Caught Speeding Again?
www.KeepUMoving.co.uk/Speeding Keep Moving With Speeding Insurance Even if You Loose Your License.

Speeding Offence Solicitor:
www.geoffreymillersolicitors.co.uk Leading Speeding Offence Solicitors Defending Drivers Nationwide

Speeding Offence Solicitor:
John Josephs, Partner
Turner Coulston, Solicitors
29 Billing Road,
Email: john@turner-coulston.co.uk
Website: www.tclaw.co.uk


Motoring Offences Specialist Solicitors:
Stephensons Solicitors LLP
Wigan Investment Centre, Waterside Drive, Wigan WN3 5BA
Direct Dial: 01942 774179
Direct Fax: 01942 774525
Email: jrn@stephensons.co.uk
Web: www.stephensons.co.uk

Speeding Ticket
www.JusticeForEveryone.co.uk Are You a Mug? Then why do you pay Speeding Tickets?

Speeding Ticket?
www.trafficlawyer4u.com It can be challenged Protect your licence. Contact us

Any Traffic Offences
www.trafficlawyers.co.uk, www.roadsidelawyer.co.uk

Contesting Fixed Penalty 'Offences'

Help over Road Traffic Offences in Scotland

Michael Lyon Solicitors
w: www.theroadtrafficlawyer.com
e: ml@theroadtrafficlawyer .com
o: 9/1, 3 Templeton Court, Glasgow G40 1EF
t: 0141-550-1074

Non Profit Making Getting and Keeping a Driving Licence Advice Sites


and www.nopenaltypoints.co.uk/home.htm

New Income Based Penalties From August 2008


PDF Guide to Fixed Penalties and Court Penalties from August 2008


Speed Camera Locations with Accident Stats for Each:


A little publicised change to the way motoring cases are dealt with in court shows that the government wants to put more pressure on drivers to meekly pay up, by denying them free legal advice from the Duty Solicitor and making it difficult to request adjournments while a defence is prepared. The following information has been received from ABD members Hewitts Solicitors:


Unfortunately in the current climate of the police targeting drivers as an easy option to improve crime figures, an ever increasing number of motorists are coming before the Courts. There have been recent changes that will have a major impact on all Magistrates Court hearings and particularly when an individual wishes to seek an adjournment of his case.

As long ago as 2004 the Government changed the rules as to who could be represented by the Duty Solicitor at Court. The Duty Solicitor is a free service provided by courts to provide advice and representation to individuals who do not have their own solicitor. The Duty Solicitor is now no longer able to represent individuals who face non-imprisonable offences (which most motoring offences are) unless that individual is in custody. This was introduced by the Government as a means of reducing the amount of money spent on criminal legal aid. As a result, those facing road traffic offences before a Magistrates Court are precluded from obtaining the free services of the duty solicitor.

The Government has now introduced a scheme to accelerate Court proceedings, which is known as "Simple Speedy Summary Justice". The goal is to have the majority of cases concluded at the very first hearing. This means that the court will expect an individual to state whether he is guilty or not guilty at the first hearing. In order to facilitate this, the Crown Prosecution Service is now required to provide advance information such as witness statements to a Defendant as early as possible.

The likely impact of these radical changes is that motorists appearing on their first appearance will struggle to be granted an adjournment of their case by the court in order to seek legal advice. This is likely to lead to two potential problems:

1. Motorists will feel pressured into entering guilty pleas at the first hearing without the benefit of legal advice that may give light to a defence;
2. Motorists will have no option but to enter not guilty pleas as the only way to secure an adjournment. This could lead to a loss of credit on sentence if ultimately (following legal advice) the plea becomes one of guilty.

It is therefore essential for motorists facing prosecutions who wish to obtain legal advice to do so as soon as possible after they become aware they may face a prosecution, in order to avoid the possibility of injustice arising in their case.

From Robbie the Pict 30-12-2008 (unverified)

Silver Bullet Exists! Please discharge freely!

May I respectfully remind all scamera opponents that the law has required a 'prescribed device' Parliamentary Order specifically describing the tested device, whether speedmeter or camera, before information from any such device is available for any prosecution purposes, including demanding fines and endorsing licences.

Such a Statutory Instrument (S.I.) must survive two weeks posting on the walls of both Houses and then be printed for sale to the public as a 'Parliamentary Order'. This amendment to the earlier 'approval' requirements of 1988 came into force in July 1992, via section 23 of the Road Traffic Act 1991.

In short the law has upped the requirement from 'Departmental Approval' to 'Parliamentary Prescription'. Thus no conviction or fine demand has been lawful since 1992. MAKE A SMALL CLAIM TOMORROW!!

Incidentally, the Gatso 24+AUS is in very deep trouble. Not only does it not have an S.I. as a speedmeter, the inadequate 'approval' from the department only recognises it as a 'radar speedmeter' whereas in actual fact it also contains a camera (the 'AUS' part of its description). This camera bears no approval and certainly no prescription, but the accuracy of the camera's clock is absolutely crucial to speed assessment by such a device. So ask to see not only the Parliamentary Order prescribing its use with a Gatso 24 speedmeter but also, as a second string, the camera 'approval' and
then calibration record - very important.

So please familiarise yourselves with subsections (9) and (10) of section 23 of the Road Traffic Act 1991, available online, and if we raise numbers of folk asking the unanswerable question - 'Where is the Parliamentary Order prescribing this specific device?' we can deliver that Silver Bullet in 2009. End of Xmas presents from Scotland!
A guid New Year tae ye all!
Robbie the Pict

December 31, 2008

BRIGHTON MOTORCYCLIST BEATS GATSO SPEEDING CONVICTION CPS evidence thrown out of court as "unreliable"

Pete Barker (51) of Fiveways, Brighton, has beaten a speeding conviction issued by a
Gatso speed camera; a device almost universally disliked by long-suffering British
motorists. In a case tried on December 17, 2008, a judge at Brighton Magistrates
Court announced that the evidence behind the £60 speeding ticket, issued by a Gatso located at Ditchling Road, north of Fiveways junction, Brighton, on June 15, 2008, was "unreliable".

Evidence recorded by the Gatso initially alleged that Mr Barker was driving his
motorcycle at a speed of 38mph and, finally, at "not less than 33mph". Mr Barker,
who lives near the camera, maintains that he was driving at 30mph. He comments: "I was well aware of the Gatso, as I see it every day, and had no reason to be speeding past it. I was so convinced of my innocence that I spent months reading up about the intricacies of Gatsos."

Mr Barker, a software engineer for Digital Journey, maker of real time traffic
information systems, raised various issues concerning the Gatso and its positioning.
He explains: "These days, Gatsos can be placed anywhere. The installation of this
camera is suspect and is poor for a radar operated device. It is positioned with a
bus shelter, an iron railing fence, trees and other things in the radar beam. These
acted like a mirror and confused the radar readings, giving a false result. The
radar speed reading and photographic secondary check should be within 10% of each
other, or the evidence is considered unreliable."

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided to prosecute Mr Barker for exceeding the 30mph speed limit, saying that its experts had proved the alleged charge. The CPS evidence consisted of the record from the Gatso device. The experts called in Mr
Barker's defence - including Tony Read, who headed the Princess Diana car crash
investigation in 1997 - showed a difference between the radar measurements (primary evidence) taken by the Gatso and the photographs (secondary evidence). As this difference was more than 10%, the camera was not functioning under the conditions set by The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, section 20(4). The CPS therefore agreed that the photographic evidence could not be introduced under section 20.

However, the CPS then tried to prosecute Mr Barker using a "novel interpretation of
the law", in which it argued that the photographic evidence, whereby experts gauged
Mr Barker was doing a speed "slightly in excess of 30mph", could be introduced as
"real evidence" via another route. The CPS brought up two earlier cases - DPP v
Thornley, and DPP v Griffiths - where such evidence was introduced but when the
accuracy of the speed camera was not in question. This approach was found to be
unfair and the judge threw the unreliable evidence out of court.

The judge pointed out that the photographic evidence depended on the machine working correctly. To provide an accurate speed, the photographs must be taken 0.5 seconds apart. The judge further observed that the CPS would be relying on the workings of a machine which it admitted could not be considered reliable because of the more-than 10% difference between the radar and photographic measurements. He ruled the photographs inadmissible as evidence. The CPS then offered "no evidence" and the case was closed in favour of Mr Barker.

Mr Barker says: "Nobody wants points on their license and high insurance premiums
when they weren't even speeding. This is a victory not just for me but for motorists
who will be able to use my legal case as a precedent to challenge unfair speeding
convictions issued by cameras that are not always reliable. For too long, the
government has stealth-taxed motorists using these devices and now it is time for
the motorists to fight for what is fair. In my opinion, these devices should be
accuracy checked and monitored more closely."

About Gatsos

Gatso is a fixed speed camera invented by Maurice Gatsonides and manufactured by the Dutch company, Gatsometer BV. The Gatso emits radar beams to measure vehicle speed. If the vehicle exceeds the preset trigger speed, two photographs with a timed interval (normally 0.5 seconds) are taken to show the rear of the vehicle, its
registration plate and the white calibration lines on the road. The vehicle's position, relative to the white road markings in the two photographs, can be used to calculate speed and is the only evidence admissible in UK courts. The speed indicated by the radar unit is considered too unreliable to be used as sole evidence, as error can be caused by multiple reflections or multiple vehicles in shot.

Until April 2007, UK Gatsos were operated by Safety Camera Partnerships (SCPs) under the National Safety Camera Programme (NSCP) and had deployment requirements. They had to be marked, made visible, located in places with a history of serious accidents, and where there was evidence of a speeding problem or community concern existed. However, this situation changed in April 2007, and they can now be placed at any location. Cameras operated solely by the police, outside NSCP schemes, do not need to comply with visibility requirements.

The funding arrangements for SCPs also changed in April 2007. SCPs no longer keep the funds from speeding fines: instead an annual 'road safety grant' is given directly to local authorities who can choose whether or not to invest the resulting funds in the partnerships.


Further doubt was cast on the effectiveness of VASCAR speed measuring devices in the case of Tex O'Reilly, of Canal Bridge, Willington, at Derby Crown Court on 20th March 2009.

O'Reilly had been accused of driving his Lotus Elise at a measured speed of 173mph (278km/h) on a stretch of the A515 in Derbyshire which is limited to 50 in July 2008. Police had previously claimed to have measured motorcycles as travelling at more than 200mph on the same stretch of road, but had been unable to catch the riders.

O'Reilly admitted travelling at 105mph but defended himself against the charge of 173 by proving that his car was not capable of anything like that speed. He pleaded guilty to "dangerous driving" and was fined £5,000 and given a two-year driving ban.

His defence lawyers successfully argued that the unmodified Lotus Elise, was not able to reach 173mph after Lotus confirmed the car had a top limit of only 127mph (204km/h).

Handing O'Reilly his fine and ban, Judge Andrew Hamilton said: "May I make it absolutely clear that had you been driving at 150mph (241km/h) you would have been going immediately to prison. However you were not driving at 150mph, you were driving at 105mph and, for whatever reason, the prosecution have accepted that basis of plea and that puts the case in a different light."




Motorist's Prosecution Checklist:

* The speed limit must be correctly signed in
accordance with the regulations (Folly Bottom,
Wylye, North Wales, Cleveland, Starcross and others)

* A speed limit order must apply correctly to the
location in question. (Lincolnshire, London, North Wales and others)

* The paperwork must be correct and in accordance
with all laws and regulations. (Dorset, Cleveland)

* The paperwork must be delivered on time (very recent case, Nov 2009 Idris)

(* The record showing the date the NIP was posted
MUST have been completed at the time, not
retrospectively - as Hants SRP routinely did for years Idris)

* The Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) cannot
be served by second class post. (South Wales)

* Papers to issue a summons must be laid within 6
months of the date of alleged offence.

* The equipment must be calibrated correctly.

* The operator must use the equipment in accordance with rules and guidelines.

* The operator must form a prior opinion of speed in excess of a speed limit.

* Arguably only a Police constable is qualified
to form a prior opinion of speed in excess of a posted speed limit.

* Communications equipment must be switched off
while measurements of speed are taken (including the operator's mobile phone).

* The site must be suitable (restrictions include near power lines)

* The equipment must be working properly.

* Evidence must be disclosed to the defence at
least 7 days before the trial on request or it becomes inadmissible.

* If you don't know who the driver was at the
time of the alleged offence you may well have a
statutory defence in RTOA1988 S172(4) as amended

"(4) A person shall not be guilty of an offence
by virtue of paragraph (a) of subsection (2)
above if he shows that he did not know and could
not with reasonable diligence have ascertained who the driver was."

* A corporate keeper is required to provide only
what information it is in his power to provide (Idris)

* A corporate keeper (ef Company Secretary)
cannot be given penalty points - some solicitors
advise drivers to register their cars in the name of a company (Idris).

* The court must be impartial (And since the
Magistrate's Court Service are usually a camera
partnership member it is far from clear that the
court has the required degree of impartiality.)

* In the case of Gatso fixed speed cameras the
transit of the calibration marks in the two
photographs must match the speed recorded by the radar speed meter.

* The prosecution must turn up in court with the correct paperwork.

* Witness statements cannot be signed by machine. (North Wales)

* The LTI20.20 (common laser speed meter used in
virtually all mobile speed camera vans) is
subject to various operating anomalies, notably 'slip effect'.

A failure in any of these areas will usually be fatal to a prosecution case.


For a VASCAR conviction to hold, the target vehicle must be visible for the entire target zone.

5-3-2010: Emma Patterson of Patterson Law (http://www.pattersonlaw.co.uk) successfully defended a driver that Cornwall Police had tried to convict using VASCAR evidence from a notorious spot called Collerford Bank.

Magistrates had accepted police evidence, but it was thrown out at Crown Court as there is no visibility of the target vehicle over 30% of the timing zone. The judge ruled that it was therefore impossible for police to be absolutely sure it was the same vehicle that was being timed at each end of the VASCAR zone.

20-22-2014: Further information on why and how hand held speed guns can give false readings:
Where a hand-held radar speed camera Ask the police to prove in court that the reading wasn't taken from the fastest moving part of the car. They may seem confused by this request, but remember the top of the wheel in moving at twice the speed of the car, as the point in contact with the road is stationary. With modern chunky alloy wheels it is very likely that a reflection could be picked up from the alloy spoke in the upper part of the wheel. Allowing for the tyre itself, the fastest moving part of the alloy wheel could be travelling at around 50 mph whilst the car itself is only doing 30 mph. It is also likely the alloy would give a better reflection of the radar beam, as it is constantly moving to all different positions, one which must present a perfect 'target'.
Readings on hand-held speed guns are always taken from the side of the road (for the policemen's safety of course) maximising the risk of a false reading from a wheel. If they were taken from directly in front of the car then this type of false reading could not occur. But then that would require the policeman to be standing in the centre of the road. The police will of course claim that the gun is accurately aimed at the centre of the car; but firstly that is simply impossible with a car moving at, say, 40 mph and in any case a beam aimed at the centre of the car from the side of the road would simply reflect away in the opposite direction. The whole technology is flawed.



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