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GatsoGate tape may prove expert witness changed evidence

pocketgpsworld.comWe have covered this case before here.

The original offence took place in 2006 when Mrs Fielden was photographed by a speed camera driving at 36mph in a 30mph limit. A fixed penalty of £60 with the mandatory 3 penalty points was issued.

During hearings at Bradford Crown Court last June, expert witness Mr Theodorus Janssen, from Gatso, testified that being on a curve tighter than 1,200 metres would not affect the accuracy of the camera’s measurements and that the 1,200-metre-limit had been selected 'arbitrarily' by the Netherlands Measurement Institute (NMI). Despite the camera instructions not having been followed the Judge dismissed Mrs Fielden’s appeal.

Now evidence has arisen that suggests the expert witness changed his evidence.

Dr Fielden, a research scientist at Sheffield Hallam University, suspected that there must be very good reason for the instructions specifying 'a curve no tighter than 1,200 metres'. So he telephoned Mr Janssen, pretending to be a CPS lawyer and asked to double-check the technical details of the case. Fielden recorded the phone call, in which Mr Janssen laughingly says that the limit of 1,200 metres, far from being 'arbitrary', was 'scientifically calculated' by Janssen himself, on the basis that the camera’s accuracy would be unacceptably poor on any tighter curve. He added that NMI had only checked and approved his calculations.

The recording has been submitted to the High Court as part of a Judicial Review. The file also contained information that Janssen’s services were effectively supplied on a no-win, no-fee basis – a breach of Criminal Procedure Rules, which require Expert Witnesses to be independent. Moreover, Janssen was instructed by RSS Ltd, a firm set up by ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers), with help from the CPS, to co-ordinate the “independent evidence” and the prosecution of motorists who challenge speed camera technology.

We will be following this story with interest. It demonstrates yet again that the law is far from all fair and that unless you are willing to risk a great deal in defending yourself it is often easier to accept blame even though you may be innocent.
Posted by culzean on Tue Jun 30, 2009 5:33 pm Reply with quote

The whole of our legal system is based on the fact that it is easier for most people to accept the penalty than challenge it. Last year my wifes ex-boss was caught by a gatso doing 47mph in a 30 limit and he was also using his phone. He was already on 9 points, but he 'got away with it' because he was rich enough to employ a solicitor.

In the UK we have plenty of law, but very little Justice.

Posted by MickyFinn on Tue Jun 30, 2009 5:40 pm Reply with quote

Those who read about speedcameras may remember a website called notsoaccurrate where a chap devised a device that measured the timing of the flashes on the speedcamera to check they were operating within Home Office guidelines and therefore within the law.

David Edgar proved that the tests he conducted showed the Gatsos to be inaccurate and operating outside guidelines.

He was also an expert witness on a number of cases where councils tarmaced over lines to hide evidence etc.

Unfortunately this doesn't suprise me

The device and inaccuracy he identified:

What happened to him... Shocked


Posted by MickyFinn on Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:15 pm Reply with quote

I think they were police, but the whole situation is very suspect - if 80% of speed cameras are inaccurate there would have been an absolute outrage.

I leave you to draw your own conclusions. I cannot find what happened to David Edgar I think he was being kept at her majesty's pleasure in the article I read, unfortunately I cannot find it.

I exchanged some emails with him then all went quiet...


Posted by mostdom on Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:46 pm Reply with quote

At the end of that pdf it reads "We believe that, sadly, David Edgar is
deceased and this event may well have contributed to his eventual death."


HERE LIES PND May it rest in peace.
Navigon 7310/iPhone Navigon&Copilot

Posted by MickyFinn on Thu Jul 02, 2009 4:18 pm Reply with quote

What a shame. That would explain why I drew a blank. Unless someone else puts together a laser aligned, optically triggered digital timer that is capable of measuring the time lapse between the two flashes which are produced by a Gatsometer speed camera to within 1/100th of a second we'll never know.

His website can still be viewed on www.notsoaccurate.com by viewing the archive, just type the URL into the wayback archive viewing tool found here: http://www.archive.org/


Posted by PaulB2005 on Thu Jul 02, 2009 4:27 pm Reply with quote

Direct link to it is here

The notsoaccurate domain name has expired and could become anything in the future!

Posted by royl666 on Fri Jul 03, 2009 3:59 pm Reply with quote

Seems to me the judge needs a kick up the backside. ALL speed measuring devices have to be licensed by the Home Office and the license lays down how they should be used. In the case of GATSO units they MUST be on a straight stretch of road of at least 400 metres as they can react to reflections from vehicles travelling in the opposite direction.

In Hertfordshire the Police do not defend cases where this issue is raised on prosecutions using evidence from cameras on the A1057 between Hatfield and St Albans. A friends neighbour used to maintain the cameras and I got this snippett from him - it's not heresay.

To put it simply, if the camera is not installed in accordance with the license conditions then any evidence obtained from it is inadmissable! This was the case with the microwave cameras installed on the M25 some years back as they were only licensed for single installations - not multiple units as used in the vaiable speed zone.

Just as an aside. if a mobile speed unit is parked on the pavement then unless the officer operating the device has a pavement closure order he is obtaining evidence illegally and that's inadmissible as well! Embarassed

If you want chapter and verse on all things speed camera then go to http://www.acpo.police.uk and click on policies - my spies teel me the document is being reviewed at the monent, but it'll be back there soon - so keep watching

Posted by REDDISCO on Fri Jul 03, 2009 4:13 pm Reply with quote

Lines have been repainted on the road at a angle to before, (interesting)

Posted by Darren on Fri Jul 03, 2009 4:33 pm Reply with quote

royl666 Wrote:
Seems to me the judge needs a kick up the backside. ALL speed measuring devices have to be licensed by the Home Office and the license lays down how they should be used. In the case of GATSO units they MUST be on a straight stretch of road of at least 400 metres as they can react to reflections from vehicles travelling in the opposite direction.

Almost. As testified in this case, they can be on bends so long as the curve is no greater than 1,200m.

This is GATSO's own installation criteria. The Judge threw out the appeal as a result of the expert evidence that this 1,200m had no scientific basis.

As this 'expert' has now contradicted himself and possibly even perjured himself the case now goes to Judicial Review. Let's see what the High Court makes of an expert witness who tells the court one story and a person he thought was the CPS another, could be interesting!

Darren Griffin - Editor

Posted by M8TJT on Fri Jul 03, 2009 7:07 pm Reply with quote

royl666 Wrote:
A friends neighbour used to maintain the cameras and I got this snippett from him - it's not heresay.

That makes it heresay Very Happy Rolling Eyes

Posted by royl666 on Fri Jul 03, 2009 8:14 pm Reply with quote

I meant to say rumour in respect of Hertfordshire.

I also did a little more research and found the following:

Michael then read up on GATSO location criteria from my site and latched on to the facts that they had to be placed on a straight section of road, around 400m in length, and that the "site conditions had to be suitable." In this case, the camera on the A12 was placed just on the inside of a bend in the road, and aimed straight at a bridge which contained fast moving traffic on a feeder road to the A12. He discovered that the traffic on the bridge was actually within the radar cone of the GATSO unit, and hence theorised that it was possible the camera's radar had received stray radar echos distorting the speed reading. This could be considered "not suitable" for a site location.

The official Site location criteria for fixed cameras is as follows:

Site is at least 400 metres in length.
Number of injury accidents in the preceding 3 years is 8 or more.
Number of fatal/serious accidents is 5 or more.
Number of loss of control accidents is 3 or more.
Number of excessive speed in respect of conditions or limit accidents is 3 or more.
85 percentile speed greater than the ACPO guidelines (35MPH in a 30MPH zone).
Site conditions are suitable.
No other engineering measures appropriate, for example speed humps.

This says that the 1200M radius is in fact a red herring - GATSO can make a recomendation, but the Home Office makes the Law and they say a straight stretch of road. The following letter clearly states that the conditions of approval must be taken into consideration: http://police.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/operational-policing/acpo-letter-type-approval-device?view=Binary

the actual details of conditions imposed on devices is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, but I have found a few more general pointers like the 400M rule for GATSO, 100M range limit for tripod-mounted laser guns and so forth.

This also makes some intersting reading:
Kris Haskins, the deputy mayor of Portland in Dorset, was fined £60 and had three penalty points imposed when his van was apparently photographed at 51mph in a 30mph zone. He asked to see the pictures and worked out that his vehicle had been travelling at 13.42mph.
The Dorset Safety Camera Partnership said the speed camera had been triggered by reflections of vehicles waiting in traffic. They admitted other drivers could have been trapped by the same mistake.
Radar bounces off other vehicles and surfaces and it can lead to the Gatso calculating the wrong speed. The police don't often check the photos to confirm the reading.

Another intersting little thing is contained in: http://police.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/road-traffic-documents/approved-speed-meters/

This states that GATSO's and some other devices are not licensed for measuring speeds below 30MPH - therefore if you get caught by one in a 'School Safety Zone' then the Police have a problem!

In the arrest of David Edgar then the situation is very serious - see http://www.acpo.police.uk/asp/policies/Data/Guide_Use_Handcuffs_11x10x06.doc - this states that the use of hancuffs is an assault and should only be used where the officers fear that they are at risk or the prisoner may attempt escape. A 71 year-old with a heart condition could not be considered as either so they should have been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm - a very serious offence that no Chief Constable should permit.

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