Police Technology Can Be Challenged

Written by Tony Ibrahim     26/10/2011 | 07:15 | Category: DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY

A motorcycle enthusiast accused of travelling 90km/h more than the speed limit in the Royal National Park has spent over $60,000 disproving the charge.

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Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
In May of last year, 29 year-old John Busuttil was charged with riding his Suzuki 1000cc motorcycle at 149km/hr in a 60 zone. The SMH report the penalty for the charge was $1,744 and a six month suspension of his driver's licence.

Today the charge was overturned in the Sydney District Court by Judge Greg Woods, who claimed the officer's use of the radar gun was "radically wrong."

The radar gun handled by Senior Constable Matthew Chaplin recognised Busuttil's speed as $149km/h. However, the radar inside the patrol car was active and read 76km/h, which was recorded by an in-car video. Busuttil, represented by his barrister father Joe Busuttil, subpoenaed the video from the police.

In court, Joe Busuttil took evidence from a surveyor and a worldwide accredited radar expert, who provided testimonies which disproved the location and methodologies used to calculate his son's speed were incorrect.


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In order to calculate a vehicle's speed, the LIDAR gun must lock on to the target in a straight line for 3 seconds. Before the local court in June, Chaplin claimed he measured the stretch of road "hundreds of times" at 325 metres.

However his claims were squashed by a surveyor, who said the distance between Chaplin and Busuttil was only 237 metres, of which only 180 metres covered a straight line of sight.

Judge Woods said "The miscalculation by over 100 metres of the distance is extraordinary and fundamental." Woods then awarded costs to Busuttil, which are to be determined within the next month.