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Cheers - AE

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Think of a number and double it - was this how much you were speeding, sir?

How can someone be clocked at nearly 70 mph faster than they were actually going, and around 50 faster than the car is actually capable of, and still end up with a ban? Well, if you plead guilty to dangerous driving it does help the CPS a fair amount.
Judge Andrew Hamilton said: "May I make it absolutely clear that had you been driving at 150mph you would have been going immediately to prison.
Eh? Where did 150 come into it? 50 mph limit, driver admitted doing 105 mph in an Elise capable of reaching 127 mph, police speed measuring equipment recorded 173 mph, so.... 150 mph pulled out of your arse as an arbitrary level at which you'd be comfortable sending the guy to prison? Is there a special course judges go on to spout cockwaffle?
"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."
So why fucking dribble on about 150 mph? Nurse! Nurse! He's out of bed again.
O'Reilly sold the Lotus to a buyer in Germany for about £9,000 a month after the offence was committed on the A515 between Buxton and Ashbourne on July 12.
Prosecuting, Rebecca Herbert said the car's new owner had written a letter to the Crown Prosecution Service to confirm that the car had not been modified "in any way"...
"It may be because our defendant is fortunate in the circumstances that the car has been moved very quickly from the country."
It may also be that you were extremely fucking lucky that the defendant was either daft or honest enough to put his hands up to a speed guaranteeing him a ban when the police's measuring equipment over estimated the speed by such a huge margin that reasonable doubt was a virtual certainty. Don't tell me that you'd have happily continued a case which rested on a device that said the car was going nearly 50% faster than Lotus made it capable of, because if you'd had to sell that to a jury.... well, in the past the CPS has dropped the case in these situations rather than admit that the a speed camera/radar/lidar got it wrong. I'm sure it would have been the same again.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not excusing a tool who drives at 105 mph in a 50 zone. It may well have been safe to drive above 50 mph (or not - the article doesn't describe the location or conditions so for all I know 30 could have been reckless), but I'd find 55 mph and still safe a bit hard to believe. But for the police to rock up to court with a speed reading that was off by such a massive margin is even harder to believe, yet clearly they did and it's not the first time drivers have been prosecuted for doing what turned out to be impossible speeds, Peter O'Flynn, James McGregor and Dale Lyle and probably others. So there's now four examples that I know of (not counting some here in Oz because the equipment might well be quite different), and it's only made the media because the recorded speeds were so wildly detached from reality that the drivers made a fight of it to a greater or lesser extent. Had it been the normal sort of speeding ticket, say high 30s in a 30 mph zone, many people would simply send the cheque and take the points because they'd genuinely have no clue whether they were speeding at that point (because the vast majority do speed from time to time, and generally with absolutely no harm done). And even if they were sure they weren't speeding and the police device was wrong, where do you go from there. Unlike murder, terrorism, rape, mugging, burglary and everything else we think of as crimes with speeding you are effectively guilty till proven innocent, not the other way round. The accusation of the machinery is treated as if it had the weight of proof and anyone arguing with it must be bale to provide something heavier still. Showing that the car can't actually do what it's alleged to have done seems to work, but what your options are if the equipment dreams up a speed your car can do I have no idea. As far as I can see you're fucked basically. So since these various speed measuring devices don't seem as reliable or accurate as the police and prosecutors would like us to think, failing to meet the giggle test in the case of the 406 mph Peugeot, isn't it about time the burden of proof was put back to where it's traditionally been, the policing of roads was given back to mobile patrols, and any of these devices with known iffy results (generally handheld it seems) chucked in the bin?
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