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More rush to challenge speed camera fines

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' at netrider.net.au started by CamKawa, Aug 27, 2007.

  1. Norrie Ross August 27, 2007 12:00am

    THE accuracy of mobile speed cameras is under assault by the legal world.

    Two Melbourne drivers have beaten speeding fines by challenging camera images in court, and more are set to follow.

    John King and Claus Salger won David-and-Goliath battles against Victoria Police by using information contained in a speed camera operator's manual.

    Illustrations in the manual, obtained through Freedom of Information, proved they could not have been speeding.

    In November, a Melbourne court will hear a challenge to a speed camera fine on the same basis.

    Barrister and traffic law expert Sean Hardy will call two experts in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on behalf of a client who says he was not speeding.

    Mr Hardy said Mr King and Mr Salger had exposed systemic problems in mobile speed cameras and the case would test if their success could be repeated.

    "I don't think John and Claus have blown the system apart," Mr Hardy said.

    "But I think they've exposed cracks in it. And people have been exposing cracks in it for a long time."

    Mr King and Mr Salger won court costs from Victoria Police in separate prosecutions and say their cases reveal a culture of secrecy, misinformation, cover-up and sloppy prosecution.

    They said the system of verifying images was flawed and biased against drivers.

    The men claim the system is so complex and secretive most drivers cannot challenge their fines.

    "Most people aren't going to spend three days in court fighting a $160 fine," Mr King said.

    "I was able to win my case using their own operator's manual. It showed the camera didn't produce an accurate image in my case."

    Mr Salger, who has 45 years experience in radio electronics and worked for 16 years at Melbourne airport, picked apart the camera manuals and studied the complex radar science that defeats most drivers.

    Tests proved that radar-activated cameras can be triggered by street signs, road barriers and even the movements of car aerials, he said.

    "As the system stands now you don't have to have committed an offence to be guilty of it," Mr Salger said.

    "The camera does not point and say, 'this car did it, or this one did not, or none of them did it'. It takes a picture.

    "And then that picture has to be interpreted. The flaw I see is in the interpretation.

    Under Victoria's speed camera legislation police normally only have to prove the camera was properly set up and calibrated in order to obtain a conviction.

    One of the men's claims that is hotly disputed is that speed camera infingements are computer generated by Tenix, the camera operators.

    Mr Salger and Mr King say the system simply identifies a number plate, searches for the owner of the vehicle and sends out an infringement notice.

    In March this year Mr King had his speeding case dismissed and was awarded $1260 costs in Heidelberg Magistrates' Court.

    Mr King's expert witness was Mr Salger who beat a speeding offence at Broadmeadows Magistrates' Court in 2006.

    It took Mr King 18 months to prepare a defence because of the difficulty of obtaining the speed camera manual that helped him prove he was not speeding.

    Magistrate Roger Franich said the Tenix employee who set up the camera described the manual as his "bible".

    However police witness Chris Burden, an engineer from RMIT who calibrates all Victoria's speed cameras, dismissed the manual.

    "Burden said the manual used by Tenix operators was full of technical errors," Mr Franich said.
  2. How the secret radar formula was exposed

    Norrie Ross August 27, 2007 12:00am

    AFTER learning his Nissan Patrol could supposedly accelerate faster than the space shuttle, Claus Salger began to doubt the accuracy of mobile speed cameras.

    The retired engineer had been fined for doing 59km/h in a 50km/h zone near his Westmeadows home.

    He knew he wasn't speeding but had no proof.

    It was only after obtaining a copy of a Tenix speed camera manual through FoI that his defence became obvious.

    By comparing police photograph of his 22-year-old 4WD with images in the manual and doing some simple calculations he worked out the speed.

    "I had to have accelerated at 15,000km/h for my vehicle to be in the position it was photographed," Mr Salger said.

    After successfully contesting his case, Mr Salger was asked by businessman John King to appear as an expert witness for his own speeding fine.

    The pair realised early on it was almost impossible to beat a prosecution, which is why so few cases get to court.

    So they used methods normally employed by the prosecution against any motorist brave enough to risk $5000 in legal costs to challenge an infringement notice.

    The pair have studied the technical manuals of the cameras, obtained various operations and verifications manuals and Tenix's contract.

    Their biggest triumph was getting a 20-minute look at a verifications manual. That document details how speed camera images are interpreted.

    The magistrate in Mr King's court case ordered it to be produced but would not let them keep a copy.

    When Mr Salger tried to get a copy through FoI, Victoria Police said it no longer existed.

    The men beat their speeding fines using the speed camera operator's manual, carried by each Tenix employee when they set up a roadside camera.

    It contains four photos, two each for vehicles snapped in the forward and away modes.

    Two of the photos show the correct position of a vehicle and have ticks and two show vehicles in the incorrect position with crosses next to them.

    In the away mode the manual says a vehicle should have just left the beam to be speeding and in the forward mode should have just entered it.

    A driver can calculate if they were speeding by using the photograph supplied by the Victoria Police Traffic Camera Office and an acetate overlay.

    Mr King and Mr Salger said drivers could determine the width of the beam by drawing two parallel vertical lines on the acetate, one 61 per cent from the left of the image and one 82 per cent from the left.

    The space between the two lines is the radar beam width.

    Drivers can then calculate if their vehicle is in the correct position by putting the overlay over the photograph.
  3. Has anyone got a copy of the Tenix speed camera manual?
  4. bwahahaha

    apparently, they don't exist. How long do you think it'll be before one of the tenix crew succumbs to the money, and publishes a copy of his manual on ebay?
  5. apparently they DO exist...
  6. apparently some people lack a sense of irony and sarcasm when dealing with the beaurocracy...

    who'd 'a' thunk it?
  7. Mods, could we merge / link this thread to the Speeding Fines sticky? Please? :cool:
  8. Re: How the secret radar formula was exposed

    Hey Tramp (if you read this) wouldn't this be illegal? I mean, deliberately destroying evidence in an ongoing case is illegal isn't it? If it was produced in court by order of the Magistrate, and then subsequently destroyed, surely that qualifies?

    Do we have a law against "perverting the course of justice" in this manner, like the yanks do?

    Just a thought.