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61mph in 50mph limit, M25 - Mistaken identity?
michael8626
post Mon, 6 Aug 2018 - 21:46
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Hi,

I received a NIP forty four days after the alleged offence. My car is leased. I wrote a letter asking for them to cancel it (14 days) Surrey Police state the NIP was sent out in accordance with the law. I presume this to be correct?

I was travelling on the M25 at 0.50 am back in May. My speed limiter was set to 60mph due to multiple 60mph signs appearing on the gantries.

Travelling under a certain gantry I saw a flash from behind as a camera activated. I vividly remember a vehicle overtaking me, travelling in the outside lane to my right, a Ford Galaxy taxi, marked Addison Lee. As the vehicle passed me its brake lights were on and I thought that was the vehicle that had triggered the camera. In the evidence section on the Surrey Police website, this vehicle is clearly visible in the pictures and you can see the high level brake light is illuminated.

Is it possible I have received a NIP for this vehicle, have we both activated cameras? Is it possible for me to find this out? Will Surrey Police tell me, can I use Freedom of Information?

I am adamant I was travelling in accordance with the speed limit. Surrey Police have stated I triggered a camera in a 50mph limit. I dispute this.

Are they legally obliged to produce clear photographic evidence of my vehicle travelling under a gantry that states 50mph? Picture 3 on their evidence systems looks vaguely like a gantry but it is too dark and blurred to be decipherable?

Can I also ask Highways to supply me with all temporary speed limits in operation on the M25 at the time of the alleged offence? Again if they refuse, can you use Freedom of Information?

Thank you all in advance.

Michael
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post Mon, 6 Aug 2018 - 21:46
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cp8759
post Fri, 10 Aug 2018 - 20:06
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QUOTE (notmeatloaf @ Fri, 10 Aug 2018 - 21:03) *
There is a common law presumption that machines are reliable but it is a rebuttable presumption. I think we have discussed in detail here before that unlike with many machines you cannot recreate a speeding ticket scenario. So if rebuttable means you have to prove a substantial defect but explain in technical detail how that made the speed reading unreliable, it would be so onerous as to make a defence impossible for almost all defendants.

Someone with deep pockets could ask the court to order that the camera be removed from its location so that it may be examined / tested by an independent expert. Expensive but not impossible, and worthwhile if you think there is definitely a fault. Not so wise if one's just going on a fishing expedition.


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I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
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southpaw82
post Fri, 10 Aug 2018 - 20:08
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QUOTE (notmeatloaf @ Fri, 10 Aug 2018 - 21:03) *
But to me I don't see why absent of S20 the OPs assertion that the sign didn't say 50 is at least the start of an acceptable rebuttal.

The point being, I think, that s 20 and the reliability of the device are not the same thing. One is a method of introducing evidence in a specific way, in relation to approved devices, and the other, as you say, is a presumption. If you were interested you could research whether the defendant bears only an evidential burden (i.e. has to present some evidence that the device was not working properly and then the burden passes to the prosecution to prove that it was) or a standard burden (i.e. proving that it was more likely than not that the device was not working properly).


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Mayhem007
post Sun, 12 Aug 2018 - 11:27
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QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Fri, 10 Aug 2018 - 14:29) *
QUOTE (notmeatloaf @ Fri, 10 Aug 2018 - 14:35) *
QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Thu, 9 Aug 2018 - 21:18) *
Does it not just mean that the evidence can’t be admitted via s 20 certificate?

Yes but when the OPs assertion is that the system wasn't working properly not being able to use S20 (4) hardly puts the prosecution on the front foot. If I remember correctly in the desktop demon case on here the prosecution did exactly that without huge enthusiasm from the magistrates.

But it isn't a fatal blow.

It means the evidence has to be introduced another way - the case name escapes me, it was one of AF’s. Not sure an inference could be drawn that the device wasn’t working.


Might it have been Connell V DPP 2009 a prescribed device namely the police pilot, which was not approved.

This post has been edited by Mayhem007: Sun, 12 Aug 2018 - 11:29


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notmeatloaf
post Sun, 12 Aug 2018 - 14:03
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QUOTE (cp8759 @ Fri, 10 Aug 2018 - 21:06) *
Someone with deep pockets could ask the court to order that the camera be removed from its location so that it may be examined / tested by an independent expert. Expensive but not impossible, and worthwhile if you think there is definitely a fault. Not so wise if one's just going on a fishing expedition.

But that is essentially the problem. If you look at something like R v Spiby 1990 then they both state that evidence produced by a computer is admissible as real evidence if the machine is reliable - and in that case the prosecution provided evidence that the computer was reliable. If you scroll forward to O'Shea vs Coventry mags they are still looking at self contained devices like a thermometer. If I have a thermometer in front of me I can be certain it is reliable because I can inspect the whole device, just as you can with a laptop or a Gatso speed camera.

However, if I have a thermostat that controls heating in the next room, I can't be certain that reading is correct. I can give evidence to court that the thermostat was set to 20C and when it is set to 20C then the room should be 20C, but I can't be assured there is no error with the thermostat, wiring, boiler, radiators... the list goes on.

Scale that up to HADECS3 which is much more complex then there is no guarantee that because one part of the system has a particular value then you can be sure that every part of the system is using that same value. Neither the defence nor the prosecution have the option of a fortiori inspecting or bringing in the system to court to show it is or isn't working reliably. Because of that the prosecution's case is necessarily weakened compared to a self contained device. Further to that if there is no image from aux camera then the defence can show that at least one part of the system was unreliable, and it is the part that would have proved or disproved the defence case.

Personally for SP's question I think there is a standard burden of proof, but just as in the thermostat case I think the court should consider the cameras, signs, wiring and control computers as one complete system, rather than discrete parts which do not affect the workings of each other. There is nothing for instance to show that the camera was at fault compared to the wiring to the control room.
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southpaw82
post Sun, 12 Aug 2018 - 14:47
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QUOTE (notmeatloaf @ Sun, 12 Aug 2018 - 15:03) *
Personally for SP's question I think there is a standard burden of proof

So how will the accused prove that it was more likely than not that the camera wasn’t working properly?


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notmeatloaf
post Sun, 12 Aug 2018 - 16:23
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QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Sun, 12 Aug 2018 - 15:47) *
QUOTE (notmeatloaf @ Sun, 12 Aug 2018 - 15:03) *
Personally for SP's question I think there is a standard burden of proof

So how will the accused prove that it was more likely than not that the camera wasn’t working properly?

Because in a system with many parts which cannot be observed at the same time if one part is known not to be working correctly it is common practice for the whole machine to be assumed not to be serviceable, unless the prosecution can provide evidence that isolates the fault and proves it is inconsequential.

This is already apparently standard practice in almost any industry including police VMS enforcement, we are told that if the system detects a fault with any sign then the whole lot is deactivated, even though it is likely inconsequential.

I cannot think of any critical system where if a fault occurs then people just shrug their shoulders and say it's probably no issue. You call in an engineer even, in my job, that results in a whole day or operations being cancelled and a consultant, anaesthetist and theatre team wasting their day. Whether it would be seen that way in court isn't possible to say until we get a judgement more nuanced than a thermometer, although it must inevitably be tested now even my vacuum cleaner is networked.
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southpaw82
post Sun, 12 Aug 2018 - 16:45
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This is feeling like a case where expert evidence will be required. That means the costs on conviction would be in the thousands.


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notmeatloaf
post Sun, 12 Aug 2018 - 17:07
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QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Sun, 12 Aug 2018 - 17:45) *
This is feeling like a case where expert evidence will be required. That means the costs on conviction would be in the thousands.

Depends. There could be much simpler ways to prove likely/unlikely without that. For instance, you could look at the period where the logs showed a 50mph limit applied and see if it had a statistically significant higher number of offences than a comparable period on a different day. That would increase the chances that any fault compromised the entire system.

It could indeed get very expensive if they started to get technical experts in but it's somewhat academic without more details. There may, for instance, be enough in the error log to show the system was not reliable at the time.
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cp8759
post Fri, 17 Aug 2018 - 21:58
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QUOTE (notmeatloaf @ Sun, 12 Aug 2018 - 15:03) *
Neither the defence nor the prosecution have the option of a fortiori inspecting or bringing in the system to court to show it is or isn't working reliably.

Why the heck not? Last time I checked a defendant was still entitled to challenge and examine the evidence being used against his. Sure, the costs would be high, but in principle I can't see why you couldn't ask that a defence expert be allowed to examine the whole system to determine if there are any faults.


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No, I am not a lawyer.
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notmeatloaf
post Fri, 17 Aug 2018 - 22:14
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QUOTE (cp8759 @ Fri, 17 Aug 2018 - 22:58) *
QUOTE (notmeatloaf @ Sun, 12 Aug 2018 - 15:03) *
Neither the defence nor the prosecution have the option of a fortiori inspecting or bringing in the system to court to show it is or isn't working reliably.

Why the heck not? Last time I checked a defendant was still entitled to challenge and examine the evidence being used against his. Sure, the costs would be high, but in principle I can't see why you couldn't ask that a defence expert be allowed to examine the whole system to determine if there are any faults.

Because it can't be done. You aren't talking about unscrewing one box and banging it onto a workshop bench. You're talking about a piece of hardware that relies on a connection to dozens of different pieces of hardware and software, without which it cannot be thoroughly tested or even turned on.

Imagine examining my NHS laptop for evidence. But first I remove the network connection, wireless connector, RFID reader, smart card reader, keyboard, and I don't tell you the login for te computer, virtual workspace or any of the applications within. Try to use that machine to "prove" anything.

In that situation you have to rely primarily on logs, unless you are delusional and/or a fantasist.

This post has been edited by notmeatloaf: Fri, 17 Aug 2018 - 22:19
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cp8759
post Fri, 17 Aug 2018 - 23:46
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QUOTE (notmeatloaf @ Fri, 17 Aug 2018 - 23:14) *
QUOTE (cp8759 @ Fri, 17 Aug 2018 - 22:58) *
QUOTE (notmeatloaf @ Sun, 12 Aug 2018 - 15:03) *
Neither the defence nor the prosecution have the option of a fortiori inspecting or bringing in the system to court to show it is or isn't working reliably.

Why the heck not? Last time I checked a defendant was still entitled to challenge and examine the evidence being used against his. Sure, the costs would be high, but in principle I can't see why you couldn't ask that a defence expert be allowed to examine the whole system to determine if there are any faults.

Because it can't be done. You aren't talking about unscrewing one box and banging it onto a workshop bench. You're talking about a piece of hardware that relies on a connection to dozens of different pieces of hardware and software, without which it cannot be thoroughly tested or even turned on.

Surely if it's a very complex system, that just makes examining / testing it more complicated and expensive. If a HADECS 3 camera system can work in one place, it clearly can be dismantled and re-assembled somewhere else. It might be one hell of a job, might end up costing a fortune, but you haven't provided an explanation as to why it is impossible.


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I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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