Are speed cameras really accurate? When police lose in court

Are speed cameras really accurate? When police lose in court

Speeding fines are one of those things that are, on face value, very hard to argue with – a police officer uses either a radar or a camera to check how fast you were going and if you’re over the limit – you’re toast.

But one Brisbane man who appealed his fine through the courts showed it is possible to beat the system.

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Police used a photographic device – a speed camera – and claimed they pinged the man driving at 73km/h in a 60km/h zone.

The relevant Queensland law states that when police use photographic devices to measure how fast you’re going then they need to have a certificate which shows the camera had been tested within the past year and was accurate.

Click the links below to read the other links on our blog:

>>Man’s surprising defence to drink-driving

>> Your rights if police stop you for a random drug search

>The 11 things you should know before getting a divorce

In the case in question the man initially lost in the Magistrate’s Court but then appealed up to the Queensland District Court with the Judge there finding: “the certificates do not state that the device had been calibrated within the prescribed 12 months.”

And because the certificates which showed the device was accurate weren’t current the Judge said the: “learned magistrate could not have been satisfied beyond reasonable doubt the device being relied upon by the prosecution in this case was producing accurate results.”

It is important to note the law is different for all types of devices and radar and some stationary speed checking equipment are subject to different standards.

Of course, with any speeding fine cost is a factor and a lot of people who insist they were not over the limit let the issue go because appealing can be more expensive than just paying.

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Ironically, incorrectly calibrated equipment is plausibly more likely to impact those who are only just over the speed-limit meaning innocent people caught by this area of law, often plead guilty.

The fine for exceeding the speed-limit by less than 13km/h presently sits at $175, the Queensland Police Service charge $47.90 for you get a hold of a copy of the calibration certificate and check if it is more than 12 months out of date.

So, while that may be excellent value for money for a person who was allegedly exceeding the speed limit by more than 40km/h – which attracts a $1,219 fine – it is less so for a person facing a smaller penalty.

Five things you should know before posting on social media

Five things you should know before posting on social media

Number One – You can get sued for what you say, even if you say it online

Comments you post online can lead to you being sued for defamation, this includes comments on Facebook. Some solicitors have previously said it often seems as though people making defamatory remarks on social media are oblivious to the fact their actions could land them in court. And in New South Wales defamation laws are being reviewed to reflect the massive changes brought about by social media.

Number Two – Small businesses can sue for things people say that lower their reputation

In Queensland businesses with less than 10 employees can take legal action if they receive a false and defamatory online review. However, if you are posting a negative review and you can prove what you are saying, you will be okayIf you’re a small business owner looking to take-on someone who has left a false, negative review it is worth seeking legal advice.

Click the links below to read the other links on our blog:

>>Man’s surprising defence to drink-driving

>> Your rights if police stop you for a random drug search

>The 11 things you should know before getting a divorce

And sign up to our free newsletter here.

A recent decision from the Queensland courts refused to give damages to a Brisbane-based business owner, who sued over an online review, on the basis that it was in the public interest for people to be able to comment on goods and services they buy. That said, the public interest defence won’t stand if the reviewer knows what they’ve said is false. As such it’s worth considering either getting a lawyer or communicating with the reviewer yourself to ensure the reviewer sees evidence to show, beyond any reasonable doubt, their review does not reflect the truth of what happened.

Number Three – There are legal ways to stop online bullying and harassment

If you feel you are being hounded online, you can seek an injunction from the courts for an order for those involved to stop defaming you. This won’t get you damages although you will still need to prove the material which has been posted was defamatory. However, once the order is in place breaching it can have very serious consequences, including prison.

Number Four – When things go wrong this is how much it can cost

Damages for comments and posts which only harm a person’s reputation but not their business dealings are capped in Queensland at just less than $400,000. In cases where a person can show they have lost money, or their business has lost money, damages can run much higher. In a sequence of recent Victorian judgments actress Rebel Wilson was initially awarded $4.7 million because she showed she had lost acting roles due to defamatory magazine articles about her. This was reduced to $600,000 on appeal – although Ms Wilson has said she will now appeal to the High Court.

Number Five – Sharing it is like saying it and soon you might even be liable for things others say

When you go on Twitter and retweet someone else’s comment, or share it on Facebook, it is likely the courts will view you as being liable for the content of what you passed on. While this question isn’t necessarily settled in Australian law, it is established precedent in the UK. In a similar vein the New South Courts are expected to hand down judgment later this year on a case where several media outlets are being sued over comments members of the public posted on their Facebook pages. That case will centre on whether, or not, the media companies knew, or ought to have known, people would make defamatory remarks about the person who is suing them and whether they should have refrained from posting stories about that person as a result.

Click the links below to read the other links on our blog:

>>Man’s surprising defence to drink-driving

>> Your rights if police stop you for a random drug search

>The 11 things you should know before getting a divorce

And sign up to our free newsletter here.