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9/20/2007
UK, Australian Leaders Hide Personal Speed Camera Convictions
The Leader of the UK House of Commons and Transport Minister for Queensland, Australia receive special treatment after neglecting duty to pay speed camera fines.

Harman and Lucas
The number two political leaders in the UK and Queensland, Australia received special treatment after being caught evading their responsibility to pay speed camera fines. The Crown Prosecution Service on Monday dropped charges against UK Deputy Labor Leader Harriet Harman, 57, in an unusual move that protected her as Leader of the House of Commons and Lord Privy Seal from standing trial.

On April 7, a speed camera on the A14 near Ipswich had photographed Harman driving 50 MPH in a 40 MPH zone. Harman failed to pay the £60 (US $120) fine within 28 days as required by law -- a serious offense that often carries a £1000 (US $2000) penalty. Prosecutors allowed her to pay the £60 without any additional fine, allowing Harman to avoid an embarrassing court hearing. The motoring group Safe Speed suggested this had been done to cover up Harman's offense.

"It seems highly unlikely that an ordinary member of the public would have been treated in the same way," Safe Speed founder Paul Smith said. "Are senior politicians now above the law? Is spin now more important than justice? This is absolutely shocking. We need the full details and we need them now."

In 2003, Harman was fined £400 for driving 99 MPH on the M4 freeway in Swindon.

Queensland Deputy Premier Paul Lucas was likewise photographed by a speed camera on April 15. The device, located on Kingsford Smith Drive in Brisbane, claimed that the minister's official car had been driving 71 km/h (44 MPH) in a 60 km/h (37 MPH) zone. Initially, Lucas blamed his driver, Robert Lamacchia, who paid the A$100 ticket. Instead of being fined or investigated for providing false evidence, Lucas handed Lamacchia A$100. Lucas denied that he had done anything to cover up his offense.

Before the fine had become public, Lucas had issued a statement on September 4, warning "lead-footed motorists."

"Driving isn't a game," Lucas said. "I want motorists to slow down - not risk their lives and those of other road users."



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