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Expired Calibration Certificate
NewJudge
post Thu, 24 Oct 2019 - 18:36
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Hypothetical scenario:

Driver is detected speeding by a fixed camera. He discovers the calibration certificate for the device has expired. He decides to challenge the matter on that basis.

I know that the burden is on the defendant to prove the device cannot be relied upon or is defective and that the expired certificate alone does not do that. But any views on whether the CPS, should they discover the expired certificate, would discontinue?
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post Thu, 24 Oct 2019 - 18:36
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southpaw82
post Thu, 24 Oct 2019 - 18:37
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Do you think a CPS lawyer is going to read the file before court?


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NewJudge
post Thu, 24 Oct 2019 - 18:53
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QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Thu, 24 Oct 2019 - 19:37) *
Do you think a CPS lawyer is going to read the file before court?

Probably not the trial advocate. But at some point previously the defendant will have stated the basis of his NG plea and I would assume that somebody would react to that and prepare the case accordingly.
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southpaw82
post Thu, 24 Oct 2019 - 18:57
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QUOTE (NewJudge @ Thu, 24 Oct 2019 - 19:53) *
QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Thu, 24 Oct 2019 - 19:37) *
Do you think a CPS lawyer is going to read the file before court?

Probably not the trial advocate. But at some point previously the defendant will have stated the basis of his NG plea and I would assume that somebody would react to that and prepare the case accordingly.

Not that I have anything to do with the CPS but I understand that’sa bit of a forlorn hope. Who knows what they might do? Drop it as too hard? Run it to prove a point? Personally I’d run it.


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cp8759
post Thu, 24 Oct 2019 - 19:41
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QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Thu, 24 Oct 2019 - 19:57) *
Not that I have anything to do with the CPS but I understand that’sa bit of a forlorn hope. Who knows what they might do? Drop it as too hard? Run it to prove a point? Personally I’d run it.

If you were a CPS lawyer, I'd say that all else being equal you'd be under a professional duty to run it, simply because of the realistic prospect of conviction test.


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southpaw82
post Thu, 24 Oct 2019 - 20:15
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QUOTE (cp8759 @ Thu, 24 Oct 2019 - 20:41) *
QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Thu, 24 Oct 2019 - 19:57) *
Not that I have anything to do with the CPS but I understand that’sa bit of a forlorn hope. Who knows what they might do? Drop it as too hard? Run it to prove a point? Personally I’d run it.

If you were a CPS lawyer, I'd say that all else being equal you'd be under a professional duty to run it, simply because of the realistic prospect of conviction test.

Pretty much.


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DancingDad
post Thu, 24 Oct 2019 - 21:33
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I think my fear would be that when the CPS or Police did see the defence that they would feel compelled to disprove it.
Get in expensive experts, prove it was irrelevant and claim the costs.

Possibly irrational but there was a guy with a sports car a couple of years back claimed that due to the shape of his car the camera could not get a true reading.
By the time experts had tested a similar car and debunked the claim, costs were 11K (IIRC) and all levied against him as he was found guilty of the speeding charge.
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Fredd
post Thu, 24 Oct 2019 - 21:55
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QUOTE (DancingDad @ Thu, 24 Oct 2019 - 22:33) *
I think my fear would be that when the CPS or Police did see the defence that they would feel compelled to disprove it.
Get in expensive experts, prove it was irrelevant and claim the costs.

From an engineering viewpoint, I struggle to see how any expert would be able to prove that failure to calibrate a device as specified by the manufacturer or type approval body would be irrelevant to the question of it's accuracy, unless they were to question the competence of those bodies in specifying the calibration interval.

From the point of view of a court, that kind of argument would no doubt be dismissed as technical mumbo-jumbo and the opinion of the prosecution "expert" accepted.


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The Slithy Tove
post Fri, 25 Oct 2019 - 06:38
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QUOTE (DancingDad @ Thu, 24 Oct 2019 - 22:33) *
Possibly irrational but there was a guy with a sports car a couple of years back claimed that due to the shape of his car the camera could not get a true reading.
By the time experts had tested a similar car and debunked the claim, costs were 11K (IIRC) and all levied against him as he was found guilty of the speeding charge.

What happened to the recent thread on the speeding forum where the OP was coming up with all sorts of technical BS on why the speed reading was inaccurate, and comparing it to laser-sights on military weapons? All gone rather quiet there, and we were all waiting for the (inevitable) outcome.
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whitewing
post Fri, 25 Oct 2019 - 09:51
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From a purely technical point of view, if the next calibration showed that the device met its spec, then a previous expired cert wouldn't be particularly relevant.
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Spandex
post Fri, 25 Oct 2019 - 11:13
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QUOTE (Fredd @ Thu, 24 Oct 2019 - 22:55) *
QUOTE (DancingDad @ Thu, 24 Oct 2019 - 22:33) *
I think my fear would be that when the CPS or Police did see the defence that they would feel compelled to disprove it.
Get in expensive experts, prove it was irrelevant and claim the costs.

From an engineering viewpoint, I struggle to see how any expert would be able to prove that failure to calibrate a device as specified by the manufacturer or type approval body would be irrelevant to the question of it's accuracy, unless they were to question the competence of those bodies in specifying the calibration interval.

From the point of view of a court, that kind of argument would no doubt be dismissed as technical mumbo-jumbo and the opinion of the prosecution "expert" accepted.

I think the fact that every single camera design seems to have exactly the same calibration period should tell you that the calibration period is unlikely to be based on actual performance of the devices. More likely, annual calibration periods are defined 'up front' and the device manufacturers simply had to design units that are warranted to stay within tolerance for at least that amount of time. Which means you genuinely cannot make any assumptions about the time any given camera will take to go out of tolerance (if at all), other than that it should not happen within 12 months of the last test.

If the calibration period is not defined by the manufacturer or based on actual performance (other than to treat it as a minimum spec) then it becomes irrelevant from the perspective of using it as an indication of the current accuracy of a device. A device that is 2 years 'out of calibration' may still be well within the period the manufacturer expects it to remain in spec.
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southpaw82
post Fri, 25 Oct 2019 - 12:16
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In any case, the above would not arise unless the defendant had shown that the particular camera in question was unreliable on that particular occasion - the burden is on the defendant.


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Spandex
post Fri, 25 Oct 2019 - 12:25
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QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Fri, 25 Oct 2019 - 13:16) *
In any case, the above would not arise unless the defendant had shown that the particular camera in question was unreliable on that particular occasion - the burden is on the defendant.

True, although I think Fredds point was that the fact that a camera was out of calibration should (from a logical perspective, rather than a legal one) be relevant to its assumed reliability.

What would be interesting (if the information was available) is the stats on cameras that fail calibration tests and by how much and how long after the last re-calibration or after manufacture. That would then allow people to understand real world reliability and how it relates (or doesn't relate) to calibration periods.
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cp8759
post Fri, 25 Oct 2019 - 15:00
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QUOTE (Spandex @ Fri, 25 Oct 2019 - 13:25) *
True, although I think Fredds point was that the fact that a camera was out of calibration should (from a logical perspective, rather than a legal one) be relevant to its assumed reliability.

Regardless of what should or shouldn't be the case, the simple fact is that as a matter of law the camera, like any machine, is presumed to be working properly unless the contrary is shown.


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No, I am not a lawyer.
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NewJudge
post Fri, 25 Oct 2019 - 15:09
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QUOTE (cp8759 @ Fri, 25 Oct 2019 - 16:00) *
Regardless of what should or shouldn't be the case, the simple fact is that as a matter of law the camera, like any machine, is presumed to be working properly unless the contrary is shown.

Indeed. And the expired certificate alone does not show that. I'm quite sure that any case where the defendant relied solely on the expired certificate as proof of unreliability would see his conviction (all else being in order). For that reason I don't see why the CPS would abandon such a case.
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Spandex
post Fri, 25 Oct 2019 - 15:19
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QUOTE (cp8759 @ Fri, 25 Oct 2019 - 16:00) *
Regardless of what should or shouldn't be the case, the simple fact is that as a matter of law the camera, like any machine, is presumed to be working properly unless the contrary is shown.

Yes, I believe that has been made clear previously. I was talking about the technical aspect of calibration testing and how this impacts accuracy of a device, not how the law handles it.
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Korting
post Sun, 27 Oct 2019 - 22:00
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Just because a device's calibration period is up doesn't mean the device wouldn't be accurate. In fact it is quite unlikely that it would go out of calibration.

I service vintage devices for a living, and I can service 40 or 50 year old equipment which would be within spec. 20 year old cassette decks or video recorders being prime examples. Fix the fault which is usually mechanical and everything works without realignment.

Think about it from a car servicing point of view: How often do you have to re calibrate the ECU, or realign the steering or tracking? You dont check it every year even on high mileage vehicles.

What would be helpful to find out is when a speed detection device goes in for calibration, are there any adjustments that need to be made to keep it in spec? Though I doubt you'll ever find out.
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DancingDad
post Sun, 27 Oct 2019 - 22:21
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QUOTE (Korting @ Sun, 27 Oct 2019 - 22:00) *
Just because a device's calibration period is up doesn't mean the device wouldn't be accurate. In fact it is quite unlikely that it would go out of calibration.
………..

To keep within Quality Assurance protocols, a company I worked for could only use calibrated/certified measuring equipment within its inspection areas.
Certification was yearly IIRC.
Not only electronic gizmos but right down to 6" steel rules.
I've never been clear on how a steel rule would lose calibration except by grinding a bit off the end.
Or how a certificate proved more then that on the day of testing, all was okay.
Bit like an MOT.
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Mayhem007
post Mon, 28 Oct 2019 - 10:13
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If the primary and secondary measurement were gave an acceptable same measurement, surely the expired certificate would be a moot point. And thus likely hold great weight for the prosecutions argument, in the eyes of the magistrates. We've seen a large number of failed defences, on this forum, arguing the scenario put by the OP.


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peodude
post Mon, 28 Oct 2019 - 13:56
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QUOTE (Korting @ Sun, 27 Oct 2019 - 22:00) *
I service vintage devices for a living, and I can service 40 or 50 year old equipment which would be within spec. 20 year old cassette decks or video recorders being prime examples. Fix the fault which is usually mechanical and everything works without realignment.

Think about it from a car servicing point of view: How often do you have to re calibrate the ECU, or realign the steering or tracking? You dont check it every year even on high mileage vehicles.


ECU is purely software so a bit different, and tracking should be checked every few years to check it's OK, a knock from a kerb or pothole can send it out of alignment. Headlight alignment is checked every year on an MOT. Likewise, a torque wrench should be recalibrated at set intervals to ensure accuracy.

Something like a speed gun, which can be dropped, banged etc. i feel, should have a set inspection period. The software side will be OK, but I'm sure the hardware side can be knocked out of sync, especially when firing rays.

Whilst i understand the current position is that it is presumed to be correct unless proved otherwise, how would you go about proving it wasn't, other than requesting an engineer to inspect the camera used, which i doubt would be authorised anyway.
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