Footage from speed cameras to go online
SPEEDING motorists caught on camera will soon be able to watch themselves breaking the law on the Internet.
The Northumbria Safety Camera Partnership says evidence in speeding cases will go online from the summer.
Safety campaigners have also hit out at claims in a motoring magazine that almost all speed camera prosecutions are based on inadmissible evidence.
In its latest edition, Motor Cycle News claims defendants are not given evidence on time, and camera scheme organisers are breaching the 1967 Criminal Justice Act by not providing a photo or video evidence of an offence at least seven days before a trial.
However, the Northumbria Safety Camera Partnership, which covers Sunderland, says those claims are untrue.
Spokesman Jeremy Forsberg said: "The Motorcycle News article is incorrect and misleading.
"If requests are made to see photographic evidence by someone caught by a safety camera, Northumbria Safety Camera Partnership will provide them with that evidence.
"Once someone has entered a plea of not guilty, the police fill out a file with all the evidence and provide that to the Criminal Justice Unit, who then pass the file on to the Crown Prosecution Service.
"In fact, from June 2006 we will be using cutting-edge technology to provide the evidence online."
He said the new measures would involve those caught being given an individual PIN and reference number to log on to a website and see the camera footage of the offence.
Mr Forsberg said: "In addition we show them photos of the site, signage, calibration certificates and information about why the site has been selected for camera enforcement.
"At the click of a mouse, offenders will get an instantaneous view of themselves breaking the speed limit and evidence that would be used in court.
"Although not required, this is part of our drive to increase police and partnership liaison with the public."
He said evidence was always provided in accordance with the guidelines and the partnership was happy to supply the photographic evidence at any time.
Motor Cycle News said it contacted three of the biggest speed camera partnerships, London, Thames Valley and Mid and South Wales, and claims each one said evidence was not automatically submitted to defendants before trials.
The publication's news editor, Tony Carter, said this could mean prosecutions being brought on inadmissible evidence.
He said: "Our investigation has shown that even some solicitors aren't aware of this point and the camera partnerships are hardly going to tell them or the general public about it.
"People need to be aware of their rights."
03 March 2006