Motorist proves that the traffic camera can also lie
Published: Friday, 11 April, 2008, 05:29 AM Doha Time
LONDON: They say the camera never lies but one driver has successfully argued that, at least on one occasion, it did.
Jonathan Greatorex claimed that cropped images from a video distorted what had really happened when he allegedly ignored a Give Way sign.
His £100 fine was quashed and Greatorex won £176 in costs against Lambeth council at an appeal.
Yesterday, campaigners said the decision opened the floodgates for other drivers to appeal against penalties imposed at the junction and elsewhere.
Website designer Greatorex, 37, received his penalty in the post together with a picture that appeared to show him cutting up an oncoming car that had right of way. He remembered driving his Mini down Salters Hill, near Crystal Palace, but was sure that when he passed the pinch-point he was driving carefully and had left room for the other vehicle.
His suspicions were confirmed when he saw other pictures presented in evidence by the council and decided to appeal to the London Parking and Traffic Appeals Service.
The independent adjudicator said Greatorex made a “fair point as to the distorting effect of the zoom function” of the camera, which was mounted on a Smart car. This “distorted the picture so that the vehicles at the junction appear to be together”.
Greatorex, of Beulah Hill, said: “Most motorists would assume they had made a mistake and pay the fine but when I saw the other pictures it was obvious I did nothing wrong; I left the other driver loads of room.
“It wasn’t until well after I passed the pinch-point that I encountered the other driver. He did not have to slow down and he and I had plenty of space. Somehow the first picture was cropped to make it look worse.”
The adjudicator also backed Greatorex’s claim that the signage did not give drivers enough time to react to the pinch-point. He awarded him costs because, he said, the driver had presented his evidence to Lambeth giving the council “good time” to consider its position and avoid the hearing.
Greatorex said he was “absolutely delighted” with the decision. He added: “Lambeth has no excuse but to refund all the money collected at Salters Hill, which could well be £500,000.”
Barrie Segal of Appealnow.com said: “Drivers caught here or anywhere in London should check camera evidence carefully. If they feel something is wrong they must appeal.”
CCTV monitoring at the junction has been suspended since last July. A Lambeth spokesman said the pinch-point was introduced at the request of parents of pupils at a nearby school concerned about speeding drivers.
He added: “We are currently making some changes to improve the junction and will continue to enforce them so long as there is a risk to pedestrians and other road-users.
“We absolutely refute any suggestions that images were deliberately manipulated.” – London Evening Standard