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Speed Cameras and UK Law

Fact One

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 organizers 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.

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 realize 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."

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."

Fact Two

Speed cameras have led to a surge of penalty points on drivers' licences, a new poll has revealed.

About 16% of motorists now have penalty points, with 3% being one offence away from a driving ban, the survey from motor insurance company Direct Line showed.

In the past 12 months, motorists have paid out more than 121 million in speeding fines and 92% of motoring convictions over the last two years were for speeding.

Based on responses from 2,430 UK adults, the survey also showed that 61% think speed cameras are mere revenue raisers and 11% think cameras are there to pay for local authority workers' bonuses. Also, more than three quarters claim that fines have no effect on the speed they drive.

Direct Line's motor spokeswoman Emma Holyer said: "Despite the growing number of speed cameras in the UK and the increase in motorists receiving penalty points, our research shows that drivers are still speeding. Although the Government is currently reviewing speed cameras as part of the Road Safety Bill, drivers need to take notice of the speed limits - and cameras - regardless of whether they agree with them or not as they could lose their licence if they choose to ignore them."

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