Why a Yate driver spent £30,000 challenging a speeding fine
A YATE driver has explained why he spent £30,000 challenging a £100 speeding fine – and says he may take further action.
Richard Keedwell, 71, failed to overturn the fine despite bringing a radar expert to court to challenge the accuracy of the speed camera used.
He says he was trying to expose an error which police and the authorities won't admit to and felt he had to fight the case, despite the high personal cost and ‘Dickensian’ experience of the British justice system.
Richard was recorded by a speed camera as doing 35mph in a 30mph zone on a day out to Worcester three years ago whilst on a Christmas shopping trip with his wife. He was at the wheel, driving in three lanes of traffic and not far from the car park which was their destination. He was on the far side of the camera and there was another car in the middle lane.
When Richard received a notice of intended prosecution he was surprised. He sent the photos of the incident to Timothy Farrow, a radar expert who worked for both the RAF and BAE systems and advised that the enforcement was erroneous.
Mr Farrow went on to become Richard's expert witness in court.
Radar measures speed by recording the difference in frequency between an outgoing and a returning beam, which has been reflected off the car in all directions.
In Richard’s case there were two cars passing the camera, below:
He said: “One was between me and the camera, so the beam will have hit the other vehicle. Some of the beam on that car would splatter off and hit my vehicle and then come back to the camera. It gives you an erroneous speed reading.
"I don’t dispute that the other vehicle wasn’t speeding.”
Richard’s case was adjourned four times before it was finally heard at Worcester magistrates court in August last year.
But what happened during that hearing was what drove Richard to keep going with his legal challenge.
He said: “The district judge came in, sat down, and loosely said 'why is my time being wasted on this case? He was speeding, he was guilty'. It was like he had made his mind up.
"It wasn’t a just hearing, it was Dickensian.”
Richard was found guilty. He appealed and the case went to a Crown court in August of this year but lost again. He has requested a transcript of the judgement to see if it has any legal flaws and is considering further action.
Richard said: “I think it was the right thing to do to keep going with it. But I’m not a rich person, so I’ve lost an awful lot of money.”
The almost £30,000 cost of the case is made up of £21,000 in barristers’ fees and £7,000 in court costs, plus travel expenses.
The stress about the money has affected his wife and three adult sons.
Richard said: “If you think of the uncertain future we face, you want to leave something for them to make their life a bit easier, or to make my wife and my own life easier before we die. Now that won’t happen.”
But he remains convinced that the did the right thing.
Richard said: “How many people a day are getting fined? Even losing their jobs over this, erroneously? But the police and the authorities won’t admit it.”
“If we all just sit back and accept what people in authority say, and accept that they can’t be wrong, they will just get away with it. I had to fight it.”