This time it was different. Many drivers rely on their cruise control or GPS navigation system to keep within the speed limit. Often, drivers will try to dispute speedingĀ  tickets, sometimes relying on the evidence of the GPS system or their cruise control. Their attempts nearly always fail, as the court usually prefers the evidence of a police officer’s regulated, calibrated, certified and approved device. Mr Gravlev however, took on the speed detection camera all by himself, and won.

How did he do it? Well, Mr Gravlev began by paying very careful attention to the evidence. Senior Sergeant Clark said he took up a position in the shade of some trees. It was a hot day. The policeman used his device to measure the distance to the nearest speed sign. 389 metres it said. The problem, as it turned out, was that the shady place was actually about 370 metres from the sign. Either the policeman was wrong about his position (but he was quite sure he was in the shade), or the speed camera was not accurate. Mr Gravlev’s appeal was upheld, and his conviction quashed.

It was (maybe?) an unusual set of facts, but there are two important lessons in the case. Attention to detail matters. The certificate the police always produce, the certificate which says the speed detection camera is accurate, is only one part of the evidence. It is not conclusive.

Jens Gravlev v The Commissioner of Police [2017] QDC 168

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Ken Mackenzie is an accredited specialist in criminal law

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