Drivers lose speed camera test case

Leonie Lamont
February 21, 2007 - 11:53AM

In a test case pitting motorists against the reliability of speed cameras, NSW's highest court has come down on the side of technology.

The Roads and Traffic Authority had appealed against a District Court decision in which motorist David Robert Baldock successfully challenged the reliability of a speed camera.

Mr Baldock claimed he was travelling below the speed limit - 80kmh - but the three photographs stated he was travelling at 93kmh when snapped on the M5 motorway, on June 12, 2005.

Evidence presented to Judge John Nicholson in the District Court was that the camera had been tested six months previously for its accuracy.

He said the time lapse meant he could not be sure of the accuracy of the machine, beyond a reasonable doubt.

This morning, the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal, in what it described as a "test case", upheld the speed camera.

It said the law was designed to ensure that expert police resources were not tied down in numerous court proceedings.

When the laws covering them were introduced, the cameras replaced hand-held radar devices operated by police.

It said the purpose of the law was to promote road safety, and on specific questions of law, the judge had erred.

But while motorists have been put on notice, Mr Baldock's win will stand.

The appeal court said the RTA had not sought to have the matter re-heard in the District Court.

The appeal had been brought as it was in the RTA's interests to have the legal issues determined, and it ordered that the RTA pay his costs.