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'Almost all speed cameras should be thrown out'

Daily Mail
Nearly all speed camera prosecutions are based on inadmissible evidence and can therefore be thrown out, according to Motor Cycle News.

Defendants are not given evidence on time and camera scheme organisers are breaching the 1967 Criminal Justice Act by not providing a photo or video evidence of an offence at least seven days before a trial, Motor Cycle News (MCN) said in its latest edition.

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The publication's news editor, Tony Carter, said Motor Cycle News has contacted the three biggest areas which run the speed camera partnerships.

Each one said evidence was not automatically submitted to defendants before trials, which meant, according to MCN, that each one has potentially been bringing prosecutions based on inadmissible evidence.

Mr Carter added: "All the partnerships said 'Evidence isn't automatically submitted'. The problem for most people accused of speeding is they won't realise that this fact of law, which our investigation has uncovered, can render the evidence inadmissible in court.

"Our investigation has shown that even some solicitors aren't aware of this point and the camera partnerships are hardly going to tell them or the general public about it.

"People need to be aware of their rights.

"Some camera partnerships are having it all their own way. They say a road user can't have the evidence but fail to tell them they are entitled to see it. They want to have their cake and eat it."

The three partnerships contacted were London, Thames Valley and Mid and South Wales.

MCN said a spokeswoman for the London partnership said the evidence "doesn't automatically go out" to defendants.

A spokesman for the Thames Valley partnership said: "We don't send people a file of evidence."

And a spokesman for Mid and South Wales said: "We don't automatically supply pictures or tapes."

Evidence not submitted before trial

Other partnerships said video evidence from mobile speed camera vans wasn't submitted to defendants before a trial.

John Davies, spokesman for Lancashire, said stills would be sent to defendants instead.

In court, the whole video may be called on as evidence - but as it wasn't given to the defendant beforehand, it wouldn't be admissible.

Top traffic lawyer Nick Freeman, who has successfully defended the likes of David Beckham, Ronnie O'Sullivan and Sir Alex Ferguson, said: "Most of the prosecuting authorities go to court without producing the photo, and so there's no admissible evidence as to what the speed is.

"And it's not just a case of serving the photograph. It's got to be submitted at least seven days before the trial."

A spokeswoman for the Association of Chief Police Officers said Motor Cycle News' story was incorrect.

"There are two separate issues, the first relates to when a motorist receives notification that they've been detected by a speed camera and they wish to view the evidence relevant to that offence.

"They would then normally submit a request to the safety camera partnership to view that evidence which may be sent to them by post or alternatively arrangements may be made to view the evidence at a police station.

"The second issue relates to when a motorist chooses to have their case heard before a magistrates court and enters a plea of not guilty to the specific offence. Under these circumstances, there are strict procedures laid down in the Criminal Procedures Act 1996 to which the police service fully adheres." The spokeswoman added that Motor Cycle News had "confused" the two issues.


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