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10/14/2005
UK: Speed Camera Errors Multiply
A pair of speed cameras send a pair of erroneous tickets to a pair of UK residents.

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Two UK residents expended considerable resources in time and money to prove that the speed camera tickets that they had received were erroneous, suggesting that thousands may have also been wrongly tagged by the devices.

Dr. Tony Brown, a Torrington businessman, received a speed camera ticket in the mail claiming his Renault Laguna sedan had been driving 41 MPH on March 12 at 1:54pm on Sticklepath Hill. Records from Brown's alarm system show that he was at home at 1:50pm on that day.

In June, prosecutors charged him with the crime of not identifying the driver of the vehicle in the camera photo, but judges later dismissed the case after the prosecution failed to produce any evidence.

"I was being accused of something I didn't do and have lost money because of the amount of time I have spent dealing with this," Brown told the North Devon Journal. "A fair amount of distress was caused trying to get this sorted as it was very difficult to prove they were wrong."

Police blame the mistake on "human error," saying that the speed camera was set for the time zone in Holland where Gatsometer BV manufactures the devices. Brown's lawyer suggests that because the speed reading is based on precise timing, you can't trust its readings when the clock is wrong.

Trevethin resident Seamus Phelan likewise received a speed camera ticket, but for driving 56 MPH in a 60 MPH zone on the M32 in Surrey. Phelan feared the £1000 potential fine and three points against his license mentioned in the citation that he received in the mail -- he has driven thirty years with a pristine record.

Phelan later succeeded in convincing the Avon and Somerset police that driving 4 MPH below the speed limit was not a crime.

Source: Clocked for speeding while I was at home! (North Devon Journal (UK), 10/13/2005)

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