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8/24/2006
Australia: NSW Court Rules Speed Camera Inadmissible
New South Wales, Australia court rules speed camera tickets inadmissible as evidence because the devices are not calibrated daily.

Dennis Miralis
Seven years worth of speed camera profit, worth several hundred million dollars, may be returned to motorists in New South Wales, Australia if a ruling by a Sydney District Court is carried to its logical conclusion. Judge John Nicholson found this week that motorist David Baldock could not be convicted of driving 93km/h (57 MPH) in an 80km/h (50 MPH) zone on the M5 in June 2005 because the speed camera evidence was untrustworthy.

Nicholson ruled that because digital speed cameras are not calibrated on a daily basis, the evidence is faulty. The Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) maintained the cameras are "rigorously" re-certified on an annual basis, and that is enough. Since every speed camera ticket in the state since 1999 has been issued in the same manner, Baldock's lawyer, Dennis Miralis, maintains that all prior convictions are invalid.

"Without a shadow of a doubt this is a historic decision in that the RTA for the first time have been put to full prove to convince a court that their cameras are accurate and reliable and they failed to do so," Miralis told ABC radio earlier today. "This decision will also be able to be used in other states to show the courts that what has been occurring in the past has been wrong."

In March, the NSW Supreme Court also ruled against the integrity of speed camera photos, but the high court backed away from implications that the decision meant fines would be refunded when a motorist has accepted guilt by paying the fine. (Read the decision)

NSW's 113 speed cameras generated A$57.3 million in 2005, A$50.9 million in 2004 and $41.6 million in 2003. Two-thirds of motorists answering a Sydney Morning Herald online poll said they will seek a speed camera ticket refund.

Source: Speed camera upset: RTA holds firm (Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), 8/24/2006)

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