Specialist motoring solicitors, BB Law, prove Gatso speed camera to be wildly inaccurate
In March 2016 we were instructed to act as specialist motoring solicitors for Mr Baird, who was being prosecuted by Staffordshire Police for an alleged speeding offence. The prosecution was based on evidence from a Gatso speed camera located on the A5011 Linley Road in Talke, Stoke-on-Trent. You can see the camera in question by following this link – Gatso Speed Camera, A5011 Linley Road, Talke, Stoke-on-Trent
This speed camera had recorded our client’s van to have been travelling at 85mph in a 30mph speed limit in December 2015. Our client knew this was wrong and he asked the police to check their evidence but the police dismissed his concerns and subsequently summoned him to Stafford and then Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates’ courts.
You can see the actual images produced by the camera by clicking here – Gatso speed camera images
The 85mph speed recorded by the camera is displayed in the top right-hand corner.
The difficulty our client faced was that Gatso speed cameras (like all speed cameras used by police in England and Wales) are ‘Home Office approved devices’. This means the courts and the prosecution will follow a presumption that the approved device has accurately recorded the speed of the target vehicle. This presumption of reliability can present a major hurdle for drivers who feel they may have been wrongly accused of exceeding a speed limit. Without the benefit of specialist motoring solicitors to fight your corner it can be difficult to get over this hurdle even if common sense seems to be on your side.
Our client had spoken to numerous other motoring solicitors before contacting specialist motoring solicitors, BB Law. Most solicitors he contacted had told him the accuracy of Gatso cameras could not be challenged, fortunately we were able to offer a more positive approach.
Once instructed, BB Law quickly set about proving that despite its ‘home office approval’, this speed camera could not be relied upon to accurately calculate vehicle speeds. Within a matter of weeks we had obtained the necessary evidence to enable us to prove that our client’s van was actually travelling at a maximum of 29.08mph. We proved this 100% categorically, there were no ifs or buts, our client was definitely NOT speeding and he was definitely NOT driving at 85mph!
The police accepted that our calculation of the van’s speed was correct and they dropped the case. This was a huge relief for our client who had spent the last 3 months of his life worrying about the prospect of losing his licence for a substantial period and possibly even facing a Dangerous Driving charge due to the extremely high level of excess speed in a 30mph limit.
We also managed to persuade the police to reimburse our client for every penny of the legal fees he had incurred.
So how does a home office approved speed camera manage to over-calculate the speed of a vehicle by a whopping 55mph? Good question. We don’t know, the police don’t know (or at least they aren’t telling us if they do) and there is currently no word from the camera manufacturer.
If the police and the camera manufacturer don’t know what caused this error then there is no way of knowing whether the problem affects other Gatso speed cameras. It is also reasonable to conclude that this isn’t the first and only time that this type of speed camera has mis-calculated the speed of a vehicle. We wonder how many drivers have been fined and had their licences endorsed with penalty points as a result of evidence produced by this camera. Some may even have received a disqualification from driving. Without experienced motoring solicitors to defend them drivers often find the odds are stacked against them in speeding cases.
BB Law offers the following guidance to drivers who have been prosecuted or are facing prosecution as a result of evidence from this speed camera –
If you have recently been accused of speeding past this camera but the case is still being processed then please email a copy of the Notice of Intended Prosecution and any other paperwork you may have received from the police or court to firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes: Mr Baird has consented to being mentioned in this blog post. He wanted to share his experience with others who may feel they may have been wrongly accused of a speeding offence.
Bobby Bell – 7th June 2016