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does the law require evidence?

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by penno2, Dec 17, 2007.

  1. This might be a stupid question. Suppose I got pulled over for speeding, or reckless driving, whatever. The cop books me. HOwever, what *evidence* does he/she have that I've committed that offence? In many cases, I'm guessing it's just their word against mine?? Or am I missing something? If one was happy to pay court costs or whatever (and I'm not in this situation, merely curious), how far could they take it? And would they eventually "get off"?

    I'm thinking if it's just their word against yours, what's to stop evil cops (yeah like there's another sort heh) from making up any charge they like? They might just pull someone over, not like them, and decide that person was driving recklessly, or speeding, whatever, and book em.

    Most interested in responses.

  2. Their opinion constitutes as a form of evidence - if questioned in court the judge can think 'hmm ok 10 years in the force in highway patrol' vs. joe bloggs just done for speeding.. and they ride a bike..
  3. IF you really fancy your chances, object to the TIN and send a registered witnessed letter to him requesting the police brief on the matter in order to prepare a defense. Then you'll know what basis he intends to argue that he correctly determined your speed.

    Perhaps there's a way to create doubt?

    Unfortunately for you, the policeman's word carries a lot more weight in court than yours. You have a vested interest to say you weren't in the wrong. The policeman does not have the same vested interest... well, so they say...
  4. In other words you're guilty until proven innocent in the case of traffic offences.. like it or not.
  5. Correct!.

    And they are permitted to obtain evidence of offenses illegally and have it admissible in court. Do that in a murder investigation and the case is shot to pieces??
  6. Correct in QLD. I think they call it burden of proof... in this case you have to prove you DIDN'T commit the offence. Which can be tough and expensive. Speaking from experience...once you get to court the police prosecutor will attempt to intimidate and threaten you and coerce you in to reveal your case prior to the hearing...then they will deliberately adjourn the hearing multiple times... to make it tough to attend (as advised by the prosecutor) the the magistrate and police are buddies who know each other well...so massive conflict in interest there... and even after you get their "expert" witnesses to testify in your favour under cross examination, the judge will rule against you, anyway at which point the prosecutors will try and screw you for costs of their said high price witnesses. So unless you are prepared to fork out big dollars for legal representation and your own witnesses then you are in a spot of trouble.
  7. No, the cop can't just pull you over and say , "hey, I reckon you were speeding" and book you without some form of evidence, any more than they can stop me and say "hey, someone was murdered last week, I reckon it was you that did it". They must have a radar reading or something to back up their claim otherwise I would take it to court and shove the fine up his #$%^! At which point, without any evidence, the charge would be withdrawn before getting to court anyway, because they don't like to lose. There are many fines that are created on the basis the officer believes the offender was guilty but has no evidence, and they gamble on the fact that the majority of people just pay the fine and accept it.
  8. In a lot of cases traffic offences are "offences of strict liabilty". Do the action, and you are guilty, period. Traffic cameras and 0.05 spring to mind.
    If it's an offence where the police have to give evidence, then yes, it's his word against yours, and yes, he is normally believed. Having said that, if in doubt, and you stand to lose your licence, representation may be worth it.
    And before people whinge about paying $1000 for a lawyer, whats a cab going to cost for 12 months?????

    Now to answer the 2nd issue raised. Australia, unlike the USA does not have the "fruit of the poisoned tree" rule. That is illegally gained evidenced is "tainted" and unusable. Here if the evidence itself is relevant and would otherwise be able to be admitted, it is still OK to use.
  9. ok.. from what I remember from "Intro to Law" back in uni (which ain't much!) if you appeal something, it goes to the next highest court. Appeal in that court, it goes to the next highest court, and so on. Is it going to get to a court where "his word against mine" doesn't actually count as evidence, and something substantial is required? Or is his word against mine sufficient no matter which court is handling the matter? If so, there is no defence against evil (or stupid) cops. Whether you did it or not, pay the fine or go to jail.

    Again, I'm not interested in doing this, i haven't been booked (lately) or anything, I'm just curious.

    That's the thing. What about if he pointed the radar at a car going the wrong way for instance, and decided to book you instead because he doesn't like bike riders or is having a bad day or made a mistake, etc, etc? I'm thinking you're screwed.
  10. From my experience... unless you have unlimited time and reasonable sums of money (including legal representation). Then the system makes it quite difficult for you to be able to afford to continue.

    Without writing a novel... my case involved a red light camera infringement... so the case against me was that they had a photo. So that being different to a single officers word. However they did require an officer to testify that the photo was correct. My gripe was that the lights operated incorrectly and were faulty... which after four separate hearing days and some expensive interstate "expert witnesses" later they admitted they were faulty. (The camera was later completely removed and the lights repaired). However, the wrap up was although the lights may have been faulty (and were) we still have a photo of you. They then tried to hit me for costs. $1000s and $1000s (They threatened all this before I proceeded... a long with a lot of childish name calling). Luckily the magistrate although dodgey wasn't going to let them rip me off and instead just reinstated the original fine (only $200 or some such) and no points instead of 3. Had I had correct legal representation I could have got off, I'm pretty sure...and I was given the option to appeal... (read more threats from police outside of court). So it was made pretty clear that I should just cop the fine and think myself lucky pending the $1000s more they would try and get from me should I continue... even though I only entered into the situation to simply point out the error as is my apparent right. Unfortunately, I was not in a financial position (quite young at time) to continue and had to let the bastards get away with their win of sorts. Oh but should I head down this path again my friends it will be a different tale :twisted:

    Okay that was a novel
  11. Don't bet on that, look up the relevant acts in your state and find out what the police procedures are and what constitutes an offence. There will also probably be case law on what happened I.E. dangerous operation and similar offences. If you want to know how these things work speak to a lawyer and a good one at that.
  12. in terms of reckless driving & "street racing" yes they can be subjective
    if you get pulled for speeding and they don't have a radar reading they can't book you for speeding unless you admit to doing it

    no facts here just personal experience

    i was pulled by a regular cop for speeding i said "i was doing the speed limit"
    he said "no you weren't"

    back and forth for 5 mins then he said
    "i know you know I'm not highway and can't book you for it"

    prepares to be flamed :twisted: :cool:
  13. Do they need evidence? Well of course they do.

    Now the debate should be on what constitutes evidence.
  14. If a cop pulls you over for speeding and you didn't know you were speeding, and you have to ask for proof, you shouldn't be riding. You're a danger to yourself.
    And if there's an evil cop out there (what other kind is there) waiting for you, maybe its because you are an evil bike rider. Oh yeah, sorry, there is no such thing as an evil bike rider. Only cops are evil. :LOL:
  15. Yes, often wondered that myself, whats to stop a cop getting a 30+ reading on the radar, and then just showing it to everyone he pulls over?
  16. One of the guys I rode with once got "done" for 200 in a 100 zone.

    Except he wasn't going that fast, and the copper based his estimate of speed on what it "sounded like"

    Apparently he's still fighting that bollocks.
  17. my brother got done for "allegedly" travelling 105km in a 60 zone.

    he let it go right to court and made the police prove that the vehicle was capable of doing that speed......

    it was a 50cc scooter. i laughed so hard my belly hurt for days.
  18. Probably in MOST cases it is their word against yours, though at times other witnesses may be called, especially if people have complained about your riding which is what caused the police to be there in the first place! If you leave your house at the same time every day on the back wheel at high speed with loud pipes you should almost EXPECT this! Neighbours can and do complain! (happened to a very silly mate of mine!) Traffic offences are a matter of 'strict liability' which simply means you don't need to know you are breaking the law or have any intent to do so. If you thought it was an 80 zone but was in fact a 60 zone then you have no excuse regardless of your lack of intent.

    The police MUST present evidence! Lets use speed as an example, firstly they must prove that YOU were the rider (identity - usually proved by pulling you over, speaking to you and looking at your licence), 2nd that it was a 60 km/h (or whatever) zone which is done with verbal evidence but photos or videos could be used, 3rd that you exceeded that limit (proved by observations such as following you at an even distance, measuring device etc.) Police will also give evidence of their conversation with you, which may include direct or implied admissions on your part (such as, "I wasn't looking at the speedo, I was in a hurry!"). Contrary to popular belief and several posts here to the contrary, you are still innocent until proven guilty! The standard of proof is still "beyond reasonable doubt". Yes I agree that you may be 'up against it' but any ticket can be challenged in court and if there was a mistake made (such as you really were in the 80 zone were he clocked you) you should win or the case will be withdrawn beforehand.

    A fair enough question but basically most cops have enough to do without picking out random road users they have never met before and pulling them up and concocting some ridiculous story. Seriously I am sure there are enough real idiots out there to deal with, without coppers having to invent them! Of course if you ran off with the coppers Mrs the week before and had a punch on with him in the pub the night before, your story of, "he made it all up because he didn't like me" may just get some doubt happening in the mind of the Magistrate!

    WTF? Maybe country courts 30 or 40 years ago MAY have had some of this happening but these days that is a ridiculous comment. I think you will find that Magistrates actually err in favour of the defendants. Not too many Magistrates like being criticised by an Appeal Court Judge! Virtually all Magistrates in courts these says (in Vic anyway) are appointed from the Bar (Barristers who usually represent defendants!) rather than from Court Clerks (like it used to be!). Where is the conflict of interest? I have personally seen Magistrates criticise Police, Prosecutors and Barristers/Solicitors in open court!
  19. I'd be laughing too. :p However the flip-side of this is if your brother *was* riding a bike capable of that speed, he'd be screwed. Even though he wasn't doing a thing wrong. There's something very wrong with that.
    ok fair comments, thanks dave. The gist of it, if I'm getting this right, you're unlikely to be unfairly victimised, but if it does happen, ya screwed. (barring being able to install doubt into the magistrate's mind, disprove the case, etc)
    In this case, personally, I think verbal evidence should be inadmissible. Hard evidence should be required.