I received two speeding fines in a matter of days. Both fines recorded a speed of 74kph in a 60k zone. These are the first and last fines I have received in years.
Because of my distrust of the system I decided to challenge their accuracy. You see at 73kph the fine reduces to $80 and just one demerit point while the 74kph speed attracts a whopping three demerit points - or 25% of your allocation over three years. If you hit 12 demerit points in three years your license is cancelled for three months - pretty devastating!
In the first hearing (infringement notice one above) before an aged and clearly disinterested Magistrate in Brisbane I decided to challenge the fine and pleaded not guilty. The Magistrate had been called out of his slumbers (oops... Chambers) because another Magistrate was tied up with other vehicle offences.
In my cross examination of the police witnesses it became apparent that the police officer in the parked vehicle capturing over 90 unfortunates in just a couple of hours had not even completed his statement to the court correctly (undated, no personal information etc...) while he claimed under oath to recall having followed every complicated procedure eight months before. His documents submitted to the Court told a very different story about his competence. He also stated that he clearly "recalled" that there was a two second gap between the two vehicles passing that are captured together in the link above for notice one. While I was pursuing this angle the Magistrate, instead of fulfilling his duty as supporting an unrepresented member of the public, made it clear that he thought I was guilty and had no interest in my case. He brushed my argument aside.
The next police witness, a specialist in speeding devices, confirmed under oath that the speed recording device used makes errors of up to 2kph - in other words the speed recorded could well have been below the 74kph - meaning just one demerit point.
Based on this evidence I closed my case and in summation quoted the expert - asking that the Court reduce my offence to just one demerit point..
The Brisbane Magistrate was not interested in facts presented by the police witnesses and not only proclaimed that the speed reading was correct but ordered that my fine be doubled to $300 with just four weeks to pay and, in default, I serve ten days in jail. The order is at this link.
Two days later I appeared in Court on the second infringement. I decided that I would plead Guilty rather than upset the system or try to get justice.
The Magistrate ordered that the fine not be increased and I pay $150 with two months to pay and, in default, I serve four days in jail. The order is at this link.
The Judicial system in Queensland sucks....
and for exactly the same infringement!
For the record Premier Peter Beattie's wife Heather Beattie was caught drink driving last year and was fined less than the total fine I was convicted for under infringement notice one - fourteen kilometers over a 60k zone in a major road on a quiet Sunday morning.
Justice? Bah humbug