Speed convictions to be quashed due to 'illegal' speed trap
30th April 2007 | back to article listings BACK send this article to a friend via email SEND TO A FRIEND print this article PRINT

Thousands of speed fines, licence penalty points and convictions could be quashed after a court ruled that a speedtrap set up along a road in Wales was unlawful.

Some 3,000 motorists were caught by a speed camera van along the A5 in Bangor, Gwynedd after a speed trap was constructed following a reduction in the speed limit.

However, after a large number of drivers pleaded not guilty after receiving a notice of intended prosecution, the Crown Prosecution Service launched an investigation. It consequently ruled that the speed limit alteration - which saw a reduction from 40 mph to 30 mph - was improperly effected, rendering the speed trap illegal.

Solicitor Ray Woodward, who represented some of the wrongly convicted drivers, told the Western Mail: "The situation has been explored by the CPS and the police, and it has revealed that the signage was unlawful.

"That being so, you cannot commit an offence. The road is still subject to a 40mph limit because the 1981 order has never been revoked."

The BBC reports that Gwynedd Council is "urgently reviewing" its traffic management schemes to assess the impact of the courts' decision. One of the motorists incorrectly accused of speeding told the news provider: " It makes you very cautious, looking around for speedtraps instead of concentrating on driving safely."

"I've always been a cautious driver, and do my best to keep within the law as best as I can," he added.

The news follows the case of a taxi driver from Leyland, Lancashire, who last week successfully overturned a road fine for speeding.

John Anthony was given a speed limit fine after travelling back to the taxi firm depot - but he claimed that he had no choice because a passenger had become violent in the back seat.

The court ruled that there were mitigating circumstance and rescinded the speeding conviction.

Mr Anthony told the Lancashire Evening Post: "I never said I didn't speed but it was a frightening situation and I just wanted them to consider the circumstances. I was anxious to get to safety. I couldn't go to the police station as it closes at night."

Recently, a Radio 4 programme - the Investigation - found that some motorists are avoiding the surveillance of Gatso speed cameras by illegally registering their details at a false address.

The study revealed that as many as a third of London drivers could escape fines because of incorrect or incomplete driving licence records.