Radar gun slip-up was a one-off, say police
Aug 14 2006
Police have insisted that the case of a motorist cleared of speeding, because they couldn't prove the radar gun was accurate, was just a one-off.
Some lawyers have queried whether it could provoke challenges by other drivers about whether police observe all the technicalities.
District Judge Andrew Shaw accepted a submission last week at Prestatyn Magistrates Court that there was no case to answer against John Hughes, 52, of Caerwys, who was stopped on St David's Day last year on the A55 dual carriageway at St Asaph.
He allegedly reached 87mph in a Help The Aged van which had a legal limit of 60mph.
Cross-examined by defence solicitor Philip Somarakis, who specialises in motoring law, a traffic patrolman explained that before taking the radar device out that morning he had checked it outside St Asaph police station over 80 metres.
The officer accepted that he had not complied with the Association of Chief Police Officers' code of practice for the use of such devices by not having it checked at the end of his shift.
'How, therefore, do you know that a device has not gone out of alignment during the day?' asked Mr Somarakis.
The solicitor told the court that the code of practice also called for officers to note the presence of other vehicles in the vicinity at the time the speed check was being carried out.
He pointed out that at the time ACPO's lead officer for road traffic matters was Richard Brunstrom, Chief Constable of North Wales.
The solicitor claimed, 'The integrity of the police force is at stake.'
North Wales Police were asked over the weekend if they were contacting other motorists after the decision.
A spokeswoman replied, 'Two other people were stopped by the officer on the day, one of whom was dealt with for a variety of motoring offences.
'This was one officer's error on the day. There are a series of checks that comply with codes of practice. Officers who operate this equipment are aware of the requirements. The measure distance is calibrated by an independent company for officers to use at the beginning and completion of their duty.'