7/16/2009UK Police Caught Forging Speed Camera Documents
Hampshire, UK police caught backdating documents in order to issue a speed camera ticket in violation of the law.
A UK court threw out a pair of speed camera citations yesterday after a retired veteran police officer admitted on the stand that he falsified official documents used as proof that the tickets were mailed within statutory deadlines. The Southampton Crown Court concluded that it was an abuse of process for a Hampshire and Isle of Wight speed camera partnership employee to backdate documents. The employee said he was acting on direct orders from his superiors.
The case began nearly five years ago when Michael Halliwell, 66, received a speed camera ticket that had been dropped in the mail on October 27, 2004. Under UK law, police have just fourteen days from the day of the alleged offense to send the notice. In this case, the ticket was mailed one day too late. A speed camera employee solved this problem by creating a document that certified that the ticket, known as a notice of intended prosecution, was mailed on October 26, 2004. Under questioning by Halliwell's attorney, Barry Culshaw, this employee admitted that he filled out the backdated certificate in February of 2005.
Halliwell and a second motorist, Barrington Wells, 65, had originally been fighting the photo tickets they received on the A33 Millbrook Road at Redbridge on the grounds that the temporary 30 MPH speed limit signs had been illegally posted. The shocking testimony about the document forgery set aside any need to continue the argument based on signage.
Thousands of additional citations may be at risk of being overturned if lawyers can now show that falsification of the the proof of postage is a widespread practice. The defendants in this case are calling for the UK Independent Police Complaints Commission to open an investigation into police misconduct. Last year, a similar inquiry confirmed that 545 innocent motorists had been convicted of speeding based on falsely certified documents in Lancashire.
In a similar incident, Arizona's secretary of state caught Australia-based Redflex Traffic Systems falsely notarizing calibration documents used in court hearings in Louisiana.