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UK: Court Ruling Delivers Blow to Speed Cameras
A technical ruling in Cleveland, UK could bring millions in refunds from illegally issued speed camera citations.

William Dehany
A Teeside Crown Court ruling yesterday in Cleveland, UK has put the legality of of thousands of speed camera tickets issued since 2000 in question. Dr. William Dehany, 52, fought and won against a photo citation he received in October 2004. A machine had accused him of driving his wife's Opel Astra hatchback 35 MPH in a 30 zone in October 2004.

Dehany obtained a copy of the photograph from the Cleveland Camera Partnership and noticed another car was next to his -- making it impossible to determine who was really driving 35 MPH. Dehany also argued that the Section 172 notice that required him to finger the individual driving at the time of the alleged offense contained a fatal flaw. It was not signed by the chief constable, as required by law. Judge Peter Bowers had no choice but to agree and find Dehany not guilty. The same error is found on every notice issued in Cleveland over the past six years.

"This is one part of a symphony of errors present in Cleveland enforcement," said Richard Bentley, an expert witness in the case. "The Judge has ruled correctly on a critical defect that has implications running into tens of millions of pounds."

"I did it for the common man and for justice for motorists everywhere," Dehany said, explaining why he risked losing as much as £1000 (US $1850) to fight a £60 (US $110) ticket.

Road safety activist Paul Smith, founder of Safe Speed, explained that it was appropriate to challenge tickets on technical grounds.

"As the authorities are enforcing technical regulations against the motorist, motorists are fighting back and enforcing technical regulations against the authorities," Smith said. "In this insane war of technical regulations, road safety has been forgotten."

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