Sep 4th, 2009 by admin
A MT Barker magistrate has challenged police to prove a speed camera offence – without the photograph.
South Australian Magistrate Clynt Johansen yesterday dismissed the photographic evidence showing Mt Barker resident Kenneth Bulgin was speeding, ruling the reflection from a fence could have caused an inaccurate reading.
In a South Australian first, the burden of proof has now been put on police to prove Mr Bulgin was speeding along Pine Ave in May, 2007 – without the photographic evidence.
Mr Bulgin’s case, if successful, could open the floodgates for all motorists to challenge speed camera fines.
Mr Bulgin, 68, who hired a professional engineer to testify in his defence, has gone to trial to have the speeding fine dismissed.
Under road traffic laws, a photo taken by a speed camera is considered proof of the offence. The defendant must prove he was not speeding.
Staging a defence against speeding fines is usually a costly exercise as the defendant is forced to hire experts to prove his case. If Mr Bulgin, who police alleged was travelling at 71km/h in a 60km/h zone, wins his trial, it will set a precedent that all road users can apply when defending speeding fines in the future.
During the trial, speed detection radar expert Dr Wolfgang Nicholas Garwoli said a speed camera’s accuracy could be affected by radio frequency from power lines, large surface objects and large structures such as bridges.
Mr Johansen agreed that the nearby fence may have affected the speed camera’s reading, and dismissed the speed camera photo as evidence.
“The front fence particularly could cause reflection of the speed camera radar so as to cause an incorrect reading,” Mr Johansen said.
It is believed police will appeal against the decision.
Magistrate Johansen, however, upheld another speed camera photo that Mr Bulgin was trying to have dismissed.
He was photographed driving at an alleged speed of 75km/h along a 60km/h zone in Main Street, Hahndorf.
The trial is continuing.