5/19/2006Australia: Speed Cameras Not Checked for Accuracy
Speed camera convictions in Northern Territory, Australia are subject to challenge following a court ruling shows devices are not properly checked.
A Northern Territory, Australia Magistrate has overturned a speed camera conviction after the defense proved cameras were not checked for accuracy in accordance with the law. The decision threatens the state's lucrative speed camera program, leaving unpaid fines subject to challenge.
In August 2005, a speed camera accused Va'Clav Step, 55, of driving his 1978 Holden van at 71km/h in a 60km/h zone (44 MPH in a 37 zone). Magistrate John Lowndes determined the certificate of accuracy for the ticketing machine had, in effect, expired on June 13, 2005. The law requires a test every six months but the evidence showed police were performing the test every 12 months.
Lowndes also found that the speed camera ticket improperly presented the time and place of each alleged incident. According to NT law, this information must be on the image itself, not printed below the photograph.
"I was angry at how the police treated me when I went to talk to them about it -- it was if I was a criminal," Step told the Northern Territory News. "They said I couldn't prove that the speed camera was wrong -- they told me just to pay it."
Lowndes dismissed all charges against Step.