4/27/2008UK: Innocent Man Beats Camera Conviction
Court overturns speed camera conviction of innocent man based on videotape evidence.
An innocent UK man who had been convicted on nothing but the evidence of a speed camera photograph, succeeded in proving his own innocence on appeal. Lee Freeland, 26, had been accused of driving a commercial van at 85 MPH in a 60 zone at Dartley Bottom on the A417 on January 26, 2007.
Freeland could not afford to take time off from work, so he missed the original court hearing set to decide his fate. With only a photograph of the van's license plate in hand, a magistrate convicted Freeland in absentia and imposed a £280 (US $560) fine along with six points against his driver's license, the Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard reported.
Freeland appealed to Gloucestershire Crown Court and forced police who had been operating the camera to produce a videotape of the incident taken in addition to the speed camera's footage. It clearly showed that Freeland had been in the passenger seat at the time of the alleged offense and that someone else had been behind the wheel. Magistrates had no choice but to cancel the conviction and refund Freeland's money. The crown court refused to reimburse Freeland for the expense he incurred in attending the court hearing.