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Aussie court hands US Radar Company a MAJOR victory

Discussion in 'The Pub' at netrider.net.au started by Slattery, Apr 11, 2007.

  1. http://www.policeone.com/police-technology/radar/press-releases/1234946/
    MOD: add the contents of the news article or else next time i will delete the post without comment

    Australian Court Hands U.S. Radar Company Major Victory in Legal Challenge

    DECATUR, IL — Australian courts handed U.S. based Decatur Electronics, Inc. and its moving radar a major victory late last year in a court test in Queensland, Australia.

    In Police vs. Favero, Livio Rino Favero argued against his traffic ticket issued by the Queensland Police Service for driving at more than double the speed limit in a construction zone. He attacked the credibility of the Decatur Genesis II radar used by the ticketing officer with testimony from Roy Zegers of Radar Speed Measurements in Australia. Zegers and other Favero witnesses claimed the case was a major test of the accuracy of the Decatur Genesis II and the validity of the testing and operational regimes of the Queensland Police Service.

    Decatur, a leading manufacturer and distributor of radar units worldwide, supported the local police in their court battle against Favero. Decatur’s lead radar engineer testified in conjunction with the Australia National Association of Testing Authorities, the Queensland Police Service and other prosecution witnesses.

    The Australian judge, Acting Magistrate Roger Stark, described the test as “hardly the usual case in respect to speeding.†The Australian police viewed the case as a challenge to the more than 500 Decatur Genesis radar devices in use in Australia. Due to the significance of the case, the magistrate reviewed the case for three months before handing down a guilty sentence to Favero at the end of January.

    Decatur Electronics, Inc. CEO Jim Sanner called the victory a major win for law enforcement in Australia and across the world. He said, “This court test validates the reliability and evidentiary value of Decatur Electronics’ Genesis radars.â€

    The court decision reaffirmed the Genesis II’s ability to credibly corroborate and verify officers’ assessment of speed violations. Favero’s $700 speeding fine turned into almost $50,000 in costs and fines, as well as six months loss of license. None of Favero’s experts showed up for sentencing.

    Kimble Smith, Decatur’s lead engineer and designer of the Genesis II, called the case unfortunate.

    “Favero’s witnesses argued the Genesis II wasn’t certified by the International Association of Chiefs of Police,†Smith said. “Unfortunately for them, it is.â€

    Garry Hawgood, representing Decatur Electronics in Australia, said the case should lay to rest many of the legal challenges and media hype surrounding radar use by officers.

    “We won the case simply by giving all the evidence openly and truthfully,†he said. “This victory categorically refutes biased attacks waged against traffic radar and specifically the Genesis II in Queensland.â€

    Decatur Electronics, headquartered in Decatur, IL, created the first radar for police officers in the 1950s. The company’s innovations have led the field, with the Genesis I and II units setting standards for small size in-car units and the Genesis Versa-Pak® and Genesis Handheld Directional units paving new roads in handheld radar. The company also manufactures radar for sports, industrial applications and OEM products for companies including Harley-Davidson™, Polaris™ and Jugs™, and manufactures OnSite™ radar and message trailers, and Gemini™ digital in-car video. In addition, the company operates an engineering technology facility in Ft. Collins, CO, and a high-tech vehicle outfitting division, ThunderWorks Mobile Engineering, in Santee, CA.

    For more information about Decatur and its products, visit the website www.decaturradar.com.

  2. A clear message to anyone wanting to contest a radar/Lidar enforced infringement. If the unit certificate of compliance is current, unless there are circumstances that cast serious doubt about how the unit was used etc you will have little chance of getting up.

    I recall just recently someone here asking about the certificates of calibration for radar/lidar units. I said then and will say again, that NSW Police (not sure on other states) have radar expert witnesses on a retained basis that they will promptly call as witnesses to proceedings for this type of hearing. Often these experts are employed on secondment from the manufacturer of the radar units, and can often cost you tens of thousands $$ in witness expenses and legal fees if you don't get up, and you wear a cost order.
  3. Sounds like the driver had more money than sense to blow $50,000 on putting a case that was factually wrong in the first place(endorsement by the Police Chiefs).

    On the other hand, what limits the amount of witnesses that the government can call or the cost of their time? The judge's discretion in saying enough is enough? Otherwise they could use the threat of instantly bankrupting anyone who contests a fine as a deterrent to contesting fines by spending hundreds of thousands on expert testimony when all the driver wanted to do was have a simple case heard in court. This is the exact opposite of what is happening in small claims courts where it seems simpler and less costly is the preferred option of the courts.

    This has had me thinking for a while after Haggis' accident where he hit a roo and copped a neg driving charge. If you had a situation where you had a single vehicle accident and were charged with neg driving, and you wanted to contest it on the grounds of the condition/design of the road and/or maintenance, the government could throw thousands of dollars at their defence with all sorts of Professors from the likes of Monash to ensure they aren't up for millions in road rectifications. And given the weight of expert testimony they can muster with your taxpayers money, you would likely lose and be up for costs. Doesn't seem just.
  4. If this was the basis of his defence, then he should also have been fined for rampant stupdity :LOL:.
  5. OK lets settle / disperse some Fear Uncertainty Doubt (FUD) here.
    (i) On the facts this case was not heard in the local (NSW) or Magistrates (Vic) Courts. it was in a higher court and therefore involved barristers etc... hence the big $$.
    (ii) Witness expenses are governed to some degree by court scales, in Vic anyway. Yes witnesses are expensive, but only if called.
    (iii) In Vic radar used to be certified by RMIT. The cost of bringing a professer into the Magistrates Court would be minimal.
    In the Magistrates Court a case like this would cost a few hours preparation and a couple / few of hours court time.
    (iv) Challenging the validity / basis of the Radar as a "device" was dumb, granted. I'm reserving judgement on how dumb until / if I read the case itself, not some "propaganda" article by the police equivalent of a current affair and sponsored by the Radar Manufacturer!.
    Contesting it's current certification (as has been done successfully) or the operators use is a matter of fact on a case by case basis.
    Usage, as any copper would well know, can be affected by factors such as wind, powerlines, trees, positioning etc.. as is taught in the radar course itself.

    My final point. If you feel that you have been unfairly "pinged" seek advice!
    All this case does is shuts one highly technical avenue of appeal.
    Soapbox vacated.
  6. It was a fairly predictable result I think. The police/government would have thrown a lot of dollars for a favourable result.
  7. I recall a case in NZ where someone successfully got off arguing that on the multi lane road with large vehicles nearby (trucks) and powerful overhead lines that the radar equipment could not be gauranteed as reliable.

    He was a radio engineer from memory and represented himself.
    Also, that was a few years ago and the fixed camera that snapped him wont have been a laser.
  8. Umm, what exactly is meant by the sensationalist heading "hands MAJOR victory" ?

    Sounds to me like the manufacturer told the truth and a fair decision was made with those facts.

    Why does the OP have a problem with this? If all justice was this 'just' we should all be happy.