I was at Sheffield Magistrates Court this week with a speeding case. This is still the most common sort of case we get as Motoring Lawyers.
Sometimes we get clients who admit that they were speeding but deny that they were going as fast as the police say they were.
This can make a big difference. This case was an extreme case. The police case was that the client was travelling at at least 80 mph in a 40 and up to 110mph! The client admitted that he was speeding but at no more than 60mph maximum.
If the court believed the police he would been banned for a very long time, if they believed the client he was looking at points on his otherwise clean licence.
The procedure here is to plead guilty and ask for a Newton Hearing to establish the speed he was doing.
The police stated that they saw the client enter a large roundabout as they were on the other side. They caught up with him and followed him for .5 miles and he never went below 80, they then lost him and had to go up to 110 to catch him.
The problem for the police was that once I did the maths the figures didn’t add up. With the aid of google maps we established that by the time the police got around the roundabout the client was .2 miles ahead of them. They claimed they followed him for .5 miles until the next roundabout. The distance from one roundabout to the next was .8 miles. This meant that to catch him up in time to follow him for .5 miles the police had to travel .3 miles in the same time as the client traveled .1 miles. So 3 times as far, he was traveling (according to the police) at 80mph meaning they had to travel at 240mph to catch him up!
Obviously the police had got their calculations wrong, unfortunately for the client the police ‘on board computer’ appeared to have broken just before they followed him so they had no footage nor any VASCAR calculations to help the court!
I spent a lot of time preparing spreadsheets to prove that the police were wrong and was, frankly, looking forward to the cross examination.
On the day of the hearing neither police officers attended court and the CPS accepted our clients case.
Good outcome for the client but I never did get to ask the police officer if he knew how long it would take his car to get from 40-240mph!