Road Safety News
 

Lecturer receives lesson in speeding

Thursday 8th September 2011

A Sheffield University lecturer asked a court to disqualify him from driving rather than imposing penalty points, after he admitted travelling at more than 10mph above a limit.

Sheffield Magistrates Court heard how Dr Ramesh was caught speeding by a mobile speed camera at 41mph in a 30mph zone on Halifax Road, Sheffield.

He originally denied the offence, instructing an expert to cast doubt on the checks made by the camera operator, claiming the distance at which the car had been measured did not match the distance on Google Earth, the court was told.

But a survey of the site by a prosecution expert confirmed the ‘error’ was with Google Earth, not the laser, leaving Dr Ramesh with no choice but to change his plea to guilty on the morning of the trial.

Dr Ramesh has held a UK driving licence for less than two years and already had three penalty points for an earlier speeding conviction. Under the rules for new drivers, anyone accumulating more than six points after passing their test has their licence revoked and must retake their test.

He urged the court to disqualify him from driving rather than award any further penalty points in the hope that it would protect his licence. But passing sentence, the District Judge told Dr Ramesh that she was not prepared to disqualify him just because it would be an advantage to him. She ordered a further three points be added to his licence and left the question of its revocation to DVLA. He was also ordered to pay costs of £3392 and fined £375.

For more information contact Rebecca Hampson on 01332 883135.

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FPNs are a system design to prosecute citizens on mass, by their millions, but justice can only be served so long as the number that believe they may be innocent and contest their case are lower than the courts can handle.

If too many contest their case then 1 of 2 policies must be adopted:

1) Change the system to issue fewer FPNs (usually by making sure all suspects are actually guilty)
2) Pervert the justice system by raising the penalty if the accused loses with the deliberate aim of discouraging innocent citizens from contesting.

If you were falsely accused of anything (dropping litter, speeding, being drunk) you might contest the case (which will cost you a lot in legal fees, day off work etc even if you win) but if the penalty for losing was ridiculously high, say a month in prison, wouldn't you just pay the £60?

For true justice, the penalty imposed by a court has to be the same as the original fine.

The higher the prospective penalty, the greater the perversion justice.

If you face the prospect of fighting a professional private company that makes a mint from speed cameras, who have "not lost a case" and who deliberately rack up huge fees so that you will pay over £3,000 if you lose, would you still fight for your justice?

Given a choice of paying £60 and getting on with your life versus possibly costing £500 even if you win and £4,000 if you lose, I'll bet you will pay the £60.

The deliberate raising of the penalty for losing is a perversion of the justice system and directly leads to injustice for at least thousands of citizens, if not millions.
Dave Finney - Slough

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Serves him right. He tried to play the system on a technicality over distance rather than admitting he was driving more than 1/3 over the speed limit.
Andy, Warwick

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Dr Ramesh appears to have been caught exceeding the posted speed limit. He challenged the evidence on the grounds of equipment accuracy and failed to prove his counter allegation.

He was found guilty.

Now, some would say that based on other circumstances; time of day, weather, traffic conditions, road environment, potential danger, perhaps a verbal warning may have sufficed. We have all travelled at 40 in a 30 limit, haven't we? But Dr Ramesh is a new driver and already has a conviction for speeding.

His professional status should have no bearing.

Legal representation is always very costly and I suspect sometimes unjustified but Dave's point about innocent people is inapplicable in this case as the defendant was found guilty. Equally, I am not sure sure if Dave is speaking generically when he mentions injustice. If Dr Remesh were innocent, the punishment of legal costs would seem an injustice but I can recall many cases where the defendant knew they were guilty but generated horrendous costs trying to wriggle out of it. Does this apply in this case? I don't know.

I agree with Dave's attitude about cameras, they are enforcement tools pure and simple. In Lincolnshire drivers generally watch their speed, nervous about being caught by a camera, so cameras enforce the law. Despite that, the county continues to have have a road safety problem so do the cameras improve road safety? Now there's a debate for you.
Roy Buchanan, Epsom

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Costs of over £3,000?

Was the Private limited company set up by the Police called RSS involved in prosecuting this case?

You can see why innocent people just pay £60 rather than risk that, plus the costs of their defence and a day off work. Never mind the worry and sleepless nights!

If cameras saved lives then perhaps the injustice could be justified, but way over £3,000?
Dave Finney - Slough

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