Sunday, February 01, 2009

Nearly all speed cameras are illegal ...

With the Judicial Review on the illegality of decriminalised parking gathering pace another fightback by Britain's motorists is taking place. It is likely that hundreds if not thousands of motorists will ask to have their cases stayed pending the outcome of the case highlighted below.

Nearly all speed cameras in Britain are illegal following errors from every Home Secretary in the last 15 years, a court has heard.
By David Millward, Transport Editor 29 Jan 2009

Evidence was gathered illegally because 6,000 speed cameras were not given proper Parliamentary approval, it was claimed in a test case.

The action has been brought by a Aitken Brotherston, 61, a businessman from Lyme, Cheshire, who is appealing against a speeding conviction.

Michael Shrimpton, his counsel, told Manchester Crown Court that the case had wide-ranging implications.
It could mean that an estimated £600 million collected in fines and accompanying penalty points were invalid and trigger an avalanche of compensation claims from motorists.
Mr Shrimpton said a change in the 1988 Road Traffic Offenders Act in 1991 had not been properly implemented.

Until then the law that merely required the Home Secretary to approve the technical evaluation of the speed cameras. But since then additional Parliamentary approval has also been required for the devices.

Successive Home Secretaries, starting with Michael Howard in 1992, had failed to do so.
"But this was not done," Mr Shrimpton said. "It is an insult to Parliament in general that it had not identified a single device. This is a very important constitutional point.
"Since 1992 there have been hundreds of thousands of cases which we think are invalid.
"Speeding fines and convictions effect the very fabric of our society. Businesses and people's lives are severely affected when there is a ban from driving or fines.
"There are considerable economic considerations to take into account."

Mr Shrimpton added: "What the Department of Public Prosecutions is saying is that a Minister for example could decide to bring back hanging and he could do so without going to Parliament.
"He could draw up an order without Parliament seeing it and it would then become law."
Nearly 80 other cases are lined up behind Brotherston's which is likely to end up in the House of Lords.

The businessman, of was caught doing 52mph by a speed camera mounted in the back of a van in a 40mph zone.
He was photographed on the A5103 at 1pm on November 6 2006 while he drove his Y-reg Mitsubishi Gallant Estate out of the city centre.
Mr Brotherston received three points on his licence but he is adamant he was not speeding.
Guy Williams, the camera operator told the court: "That vehicle seemed to be driving in excess of 40mph. On seeing this I then aligned my crosshairs on the front of the car producing a reading of 52mph."
The case continues.


Anonymous said...

Hi Neil,

I notice no one at all has posted any comments, pro or anti, to any of your posts.

Any idea why?

Anonymous said...

"He could draw up an order without Parliament seeing it and it would then become law."

Isn't that what a statutory instrument effectively does?

Anonymous said...

No, a statutory instrument is at least laid before the House for 40 days before it can become law.

Anonymous said...

"laid before the House for 40 days before it can become law."

Ah yes, 'laid before the house', these days I guess that means glued to Churchill's statue for six weeks.

Same number of people will read it.

Mark M said...

Hi Neil
I have just seen your blog ref the legallity of cameras. As nothing more than a motorist with an interest, can you say if the cameras in question are of a specific type or brand? or is it more an issue of generic validity of evidence collection that is in question?

Where can i find more information regarding the specifics of what exactly is in question - without the legal jargon? No offence intended. Mark M


What could happen when it is discovered that a SI was gained by giving wrong information to the DfT?

Anonymous said...

Michael Shrimpton the Counsel? Based on his strange interpretation of the law with the Metric Martyrs case (sorry Neil - but it's true!!!!), with his fixation on Henry IIIV clauses, I would guess this Speed Camera case is a good as lost!


I am also interested in that question as I believe that many SI's have been gained by giving false information. Decriminalised parking was rushed through and much of Statutory Instrument 1996 No. 2489 The Local Authorities' Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996 … Section 18

Traffic signs
18.—(1) Where an order relating to any road has been made, the order making authority shall take such steps as are necessary to secure—
(a) before the order comes into force, the placing on or near the road of such traffic signs in such positions as the order making authority may consider requisite for securing that adequate information as to the effect of the order is made available to persons using the road;
(b) the maintenance of such signs for so long as the order remains in force; and
(c) in a case where the order revokes, amends or alters the application of a previous order, the removal or replacement of existing traffic signs as the authority considers requisite to avoid confusion to road users by signs being left in the wrong positions.

Will back that up, there appears to me to have not been any checks (even though I have a declaration showing otherwise) that any checks were made prior to enforcement taking place.

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