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Camera van and dashcam disagree
stethoscope
post Thu, 1 Mar 2018 - 13:53
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I was surprised to receive an NIP in the post alleging that I had been travelling at 83mph on a 70mph NSL road and photographed by a manual camera van. I had seen the van, and was travelling in the flow of traffic. I have a GPS 'satnav' map device and a GPS-linked dashcam and so downloaded the data from both. The video clearly shows the camera van on the other side of the road, and that my speed is 69.3mph. While the satnav measures in legs of a few hundred yards rather than instantaneously it is in agreement with the dashcam.

This is where it gets interesting. The safety partnership have kindly sent two stills of the car. However, the time printed on the picture is some 30 seconds after I passed the van - and the car is about half a mile away. I asked a police friend of mine what to do, and he suggested writing to the safety partnership to tell them that I had evidence from two devices that agreed with each other but disagreed with theirs. I did so, and got a rapid reply to say that GPS devices were inaccurate and affected by the weather so they were still going to prosecute. I have returned the RK form - I was driving and that is not in dispute, but I do dispute their data. Firstly, the two devices agree with each other on time, place and speed. They have no connection with each other apart from a power supply from the car. Furthermore, while I am well aware that the speed measured can fluctuate, it depends on the number of satellites used for calculation and the variation is not great - ceratinly not 14mph for a sustained peiod. 8 satellites were being used. Even more pertinently, the timekeeping by the GPS system is incredibly accurate. The devices keep good time even when not able to see satellites, but when they can see them it is accurate to milliseconds. I'm pretty confident in the time and speed records I have and have preserved. I am minded to defend this, as something has clearly gone wrong at their end. I have no idea what, and it isn't my role to speculate. Please can I seek advice on this course of action?
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This post has been edited by stethoscope: Thu, 1 Mar 2018 - 13:53
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post Thu, 1 Mar 2018 - 13:53
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notmeatloaf
post Fri, 2 Mar 2018 - 18:49
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I am coming at this from a medical science background. If you're using a calibration strip to check a highly accurate machine and it fails, you don't just accept that one of them must be right.

If a calibration check fails then both the machine and check are assumed to be inaccurate. I can't see how in court something that would ordinarily be less accurate could be used to convict purely because it favours the defendant
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southpaw82
post Fri, 2 Mar 2018 - 18:50
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QUOTE (notmeatloaf @ Fri, 2 Mar 2018 - 18:49) *
I am coming at this from a medical science background.

There's your problem.


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StationCat
post Sat, 3 Mar 2018 - 14:17
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QUOTE (notmeatloaf @ Fri, 2 Mar 2018 - 18:49) *
I am coming at this from a medical science background. If you're using a calibration strip to check a highly accurate machine and it fails, you don't just accept that one of them must be right.

If a calibration check fails then both the machine and check are assumed to be inaccurate. I can't see how in court something that would ordinarily be less accurate could be used to convict purely because it favours the defendant

I'm not sure that makes sense. If the equipment and whatever you are checking it against are both assumed to be wrong when they disagree what is the point of checking? Isn't there an assumption that calibrations traceable back to national standards are correct? Eventually you get back to the original value which isn't checked against anything and is the 'standard'.


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notmeatloaf
post Sat, 3 Mar 2018 - 14:36
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QUOTE (StationCat @ Sat, 3 Mar 2018 - 14:17) *
I'm not sure that makes sense. If the equipment and whatever you are checking it against are both assumed to be wrong when they disagree what is the point of checking? Isn't there an assumption that calibrations traceable back to national standards are correct? Eventually you get back to the original value which isn't checked against anything and is the 'standard'.

Of course if you are testing a piece of equipment you just repeat the test with a new calibrator and then that tells you if the equipment or calibration is faulty.

In this instance the test can't be repeated and so you can only conclude that at least one must be wrong. I suppose you have to ask what level of evidence would be required to cast reasonable doubt on an LTI 20-20 reading, if not a GPS speed? Digital tachos are hardly much more accurate. It would surely be a level beyond the ability of almost all motorists, which would logically mean the equipment is seen to be infallible.

If that was the case then there should be no court cases where LTI evidence has been found to be probably inaccurate. We all know that isn't the case.
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southpaw82
post Sat, 3 Mar 2018 - 14:40
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QUOTE (notmeatloaf @ Sat, 3 Mar 2018 - 14:36) *
If that was the case then there should be no court cases where LTI evidence has been found to be probably inaccurate. We all know that isn't the case.

If operated correctly. Readings get overturned on operator error, not inherent problems with the device, so far as I can tell.


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notmeatloaf
post Sat, 3 Mar 2018 - 15:08
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QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Sat, 3 Mar 2018 - 14:40) *
QUOTE (notmeatloaf @ Sat, 3 Mar 2018 - 14:36) *
If that was the case then there should be no court cases where LTI evidence has been found to be probably inaccurate. We all know that isn't the case.

If operated correctly. Readings get overturned on operator error, not inherent problems with the device, so far as I can tell.

AFAIK the software in the LTI has never been released but to a large extent operator error is caused by the design of the device and rudimentary software.

For instance, clearly there is a balance between the beam diverging enough to make it easy to get speed readings, and the beam diverging too much meaning the software is too "dumb" to guess the operator's target and/or the maximum distance the device will take readings from being is too large.

However, from a driver's point of view it is immaterial as there is a large grey area between operator error and device deficiencies. It is in many ways not for a driver to show which is which/
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southpaw82
post Sat, 3 Mar 2018 - 16:44
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Fun as this is, the OP’s argument is pretty poor.


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mazzer
post Sat, 3 Mar 2018 - 17:30
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QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Sat, 3 Mar 2018 - 16:44) *
Fun as this is, the OP’s argument is pretty poor.


I think he's realised that himself by now.
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stethoscope
post Sat, 3 Mar 2018 - 18:06
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It is the time element that has interested me. The times do differ, and looking at the user manual for the camera device in question now that it has been kindly identified for me, the time and date are input manually by an operator. This explains the discrepancy and reinforces my view that my times are far more likely to be accurate. Remember, I have data from two independent devices and they agree with each other. However, it then raises the intriguing question of how wrong the time has to be for the case to be rendered invalid. A lot depends on the precise form of the charge, I suppose. If you are asked in Court, "You are charged with driving a motor vehicle at 83mph at 09:33 hours and 14 seconds of <date>, how do you plead?" The correct and honest answer is not guilty. However,if you are asked, "You are charged with driving a motor vehicle in excess of the statutory speed limit at 09:33 hours and 14 seconds of <date>, how do you plead?" then the answer is guilty. I have no idea what the form of words would be.

I'm very surprised that this point does not seem to have been addressed before, as I would have thought that accurate identification of time and place is key to the process especially as the law is so prescriptive and precise in many other areas. I'm also surprised at the unquestioning way this is viewed by some correspondents here and astonished that there is no calibration or cross-checking of the apparatus in therms of time.

My debate isn't about the speed - it's about when it happened.

This post has been edited by stethoscope: Sat, 3 Mar 2018 - 18:08
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IanJohnsonWS14
post Sat, 3 Mar 2018 - 18:13
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Is it your car in the photograph or was your car somewhere else?


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mazzer
post Sat, 3 Mar 2018 - 18:16
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The Police are often equipped these days with body-worn cameras.

If an officer with one of these cameras recorded a crime happening in front of him, would you expect that evidence to be thrown out of Court because the timestamp on the video was out by 30 seconds?
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southpaw82
post Sat, 3 Mar 2018 - 18:26
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QUOTE (stethoscope @ Sat, 3 Mar 2018 - 18:06) *
A lot depends on the precise form of the charge, I suppose. If you are asked in Court, "You are charged with driving a motor vehicle at 83mph at 09:33 hours and 14 seconds of <date>, how do you plead?" The correct and honest answer is not guilty. However,if you are asked, "You are charged with driving a motor vehicle in excess of the statutory speed limit at 09:33 hours and 14 seconds of <date>, how do you plead?" then the answer is guilty. I have no idea what the form of words would be.

I’ve already answered that for you. Only the date will appear in the charge, not the time.


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peterguk
post Sat, 3 Mar 2018 - 20:13
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QUOTE (stethoscope @ Sat, 3 Mar 2018 - 18:06) *
My debate isn't about the speed - it's about when it happened.


Your problem is that since all parties agree on what day it happened, that's the end of the debate.


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notmeatloaf
post Sat, 3 Mar 2018 - 22:14
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QUOTE (stethoscope @ Sat, 3 Mar 2018 - 18:06) *
This explains the discrepancy and reinforces my view that my times are far more likely to be accurate.ol

So basically you have answered your own question. You know that the time between your and their device is set in different ways, and thus almost certainly will be different. In this case there is no need to have second-accurate time unless you are doubting whether it is your car in the frame.

FWIW a large organisation like the police will have a lot of technology which is too old, cheap or proprietary to use synchronised time. For the most part it isn't needed because, as in this case, it isn't required to uniquely identify an offence. It is, essentially, a non-issue.
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stethoscope
post Sat, 3 Mar 2018 - 23:01
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Thanks again. I am beginning to understand the difference. I am expecting a different question to be asked from that which is being asked. In other words, I am expecting the proof to be that AT a certain (exact) time, IN a certain (exactly identified place) x was doing y. The point actually being made is x was doing y at some time and we spotted it happening. Cos we spotted it we don't give a monkey's about the detail.

It's all a lot more approximate than I was expecting.
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notmeatloaf
post Sat, 3 Mar 2018 - 23:51
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All you need to worry about is that the prosecution need to prove your case beyond reasonable doubt.

There is no hard and fast rule but you have to ask whether you proving that you actually passed the point 30 seconds later or that, 30seconds later on a bit of road 30 seconds further on you were do ING a different speed casts doubt on the police evidence when there is an easy and reasonable explanation for the discrepancy.

The police and CPS do not have to prove every conceivable but highly unlikely scenario didn't happen.
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Logician
post Sun, 4 Mar 2018 - 01:35
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QUOTE (stethoscope @ Sat, 3 Mar 2018 - 23:01) *
Thanks again. I am beginning to understand the difference. I am expecting a different question to be asked from that which is being asked. In other words, I am expecting the proof to be that AT a certain (exact) time, IN a certain (exactly identified place) x was doing y. The point actually being made is x was doing y at some time and we spotted it happening. Cos we spotted it we don't give a monkey's about the detail. It's all a lot more approximate than I was expecting.


Some detail is important, some isn't. Consider some other criminal offence like shoplifting, the prosecution may say Mr X went into M&S in Anytown and walked out with a pair of trousers with the intention of keeping them for himself. If they say he left the store at 10.10am and he proves conclusively that he left at 10.15am it does not affect the essential fact that he stole the trousers, that detail is not important. If he could prove that he never went into M&S at all, or he went in and came out after paying for the trousers, or even that he came out absentmindedly and fully intended to pay, then he has a good defence.



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Spandex
post Sun, 4 Mar 2018 - 09:16
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QUOTE (stethoscope @ Sat, 3 Mar 2018 - 23:01) *
The point actually being made is x was doing y at some time and we spotted it happening. Cos we spotted it we don't give a monkey's about the detail.

It’s not about ‘not giving a monkeys’. It’s about proving the offence. The camera produces enough evidence to show that a car matching yours and bearing your number plate exceeded the speed limit at that location. Having an accurate time would not make that evidence any more accurate. The time is, however, useful in helping to identify the driver because it allows the RK to work out who was driving their car at that time. It is not part of the evidence of the offence itself.

My understanding is that you’re hoping there is a loophole where you can say “I wasn’t speeding at the precise (to the second) time alleged, even though I was (clearly and demonstrably) speeding when the camera operator pinged me”. Clearly that’s never going to be an effective defence, and given that the time in the camera is set manually, you can’t even hope to use the inaccurate time to cast doubt on the accuracy of the speed measurement.
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Trampilot
post Wed, 7 Mar 2018 - 10:40
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I don't think the op has said what brand sat nav he has but on my Garmin when I download the data I can view it on a map and then subsequently on Google Earth Satellite. Noted speed, time and distance travelled is included at each created waypoint. Even if the speed is "smoothed" out, travelling over 80 would have significantly upped the figures. If I was in your shoes I'd go through those figures very carefully.

If he can do that and at no point did his vehicle reach 83mph then he may have a something. I wouldnt rely of times, too many variables - it's the position when the car was lasered which is key.

According to your footage you were doing 76mph. You had exceeded the speed limit.

The course is the easy and cheaper way out of this.
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