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7/11/2005
UK Monitors Website to Find Speed Camera Cheat
UK authorities monitor a website to find woman who took the fine for a man caught by a speed camera.

Pepipoo website logo
Police in Cumbria, UK have been monitoring online comments posted to an anti-speed camera website. Recently, they used a website posting to catch and convict a couple for "point swapping." This illegal practice happens when someone takes the blame and license demerit points for a photo ticket, usually in order to save a friend or family member's license and job.

South London resident Stephen Quas had received a photo ticket claiming his BMW was doing 88 MPH on the M6 motorway, but police were unable to clearly identify the driver from the photograph because his face was blocked by a sun visor. According to the London Times, police discovered that Quas had boasted on the website Pepipoo.com that he convinced his girlfriend, Isabelle Fortot, to claim responsibility for the ticket, even though he was the one driving.

The Carlisle Crown Court sentenced Quas to 240 hours of community service and Fortot to 200 hours. They must also now wear electronic monitoring devices for "perverting the course of justice."

If UK authorities applied this law evenly, it would mean 726,000 motorists should be placed under arrest according to a survey by Churchill Insurance. Nearly a third of English motorists and 41 percent of Scottish drivers said they would "swap points" if it meant losing their license or job. Currently, there are only 75,877 inmates serving in 139 prisons throughout England and Wales.

The Pepipoo website and forum do not recommend the practice of point swapping to evade unjust tickets. As the site's moderator posted, "Why bother lying when there's so much fun to be had?" Instead, the more sophisticated defenses offered include issuing a statement that the "registered keeper" of the vehicle does not necessarily know who was driving on the day of the alleged offense. The second recommended defense is to maintain one's right, recognized by the European courts, to silence. The forum cites court cases and personal examples where such legal defenses have been successful.

Source: Speed cheat trapped by web boast (London Times (UK), 7/11/2005)

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