9/10/2007Australia: Police Attempt to Hide Speed Camera Error
Prosecutors in Geelong, Australia use plea bargains to avoid challenges to speed camera accuracy.
A speed camera in Geelong, Australia falsely accused a motorist of speeding. A photograph allegedly showed a car belonging to Robin Rodgers traveling at 108km/h (67 MPH) on Geelong Road in August 2006. The government insisted Rodgers pay A$138, but Rodgers knew he was only traveling at 90km/h (56 MPH) under cruise control.
Once Rodgers examined a copy of the original photo closely, he noticed that his rear wheels did not cross the pavement speed sensors before the speed reading was taken. He filed a challenge, delayed several times, in Werribee Court. When he finally had his day in court, prosecutors forced him to keep quiet in order to have the fine dropped.
"I was told that, if I changed my plea to guilty, I would be let off," Rodgers told The Age newspaper. "I felt very uncomfortable about that because I was not guilty. But I was induced to plead guilty so they could let me off. I thought it was a sham."
The same thing happened to Joan Rowlands, 76, who was accused of traveling 109km/h. The 76-year-old, who has a perfect driving record, said she always keeps her speed under 95 km/h. She likewise was let out of an A$131 fine when a long-delayed case was dropped because the government's "expert witness" never appeared, allowing the case to be dropped without evidence of the camera's inaccuracy heard.