1/11/2006UK Speed Camera Tickets Non-Speeding Protester
Annoyed by defiant gesture, speed camera issues ticket to non-speeding driver.
A UK court on Monday severely penalized a motorist for the crime of showing disrespect to a mobile speed camera van. The device had photographed Sean Toehill, 21, driving at 22 MPH in a 40 MPH zone on July 29, 2005 but police became enraged when they noticed he had given the camera a "V-sign."
At the time, the road was otherwise empty and police admitted there was no sign that Toehill's silver VW Polo was out of control or had ever drifted off-course. Officers nonetheless were dispatched to his home two days later to charge him with "dangerous driving."
The Cupar Sheriff Court in Fife, Scotland upheld the charge claiming even a momentary removal of hands from the wheel to make a gesture was dangerous (see full image). Sheriff George Evans suspended Toehill's right to drive for a year and imposed a £90 (US $160) fine. Toehill plans to appeal the ruling.
"I can't believe that speed cameras can be used in this way," Toehill, a North Sea oil worker, told the London Telegraph. "I thought they were to catch speeding drivers."