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Science cannot save man from speeding fine

PUBLISHED: 18:06 17 March 2009 | UPDATED: 15:06 07 July 2010

A FORMER police officer from Gressenhall used the laws of physics and Newton's third law to try to talk himself out of a speeding fine on Tuesday.

But magistrates were having none of the science and fined him £154 with £100 costs and a £15 surcharge.

A FORMER police officer from Gressenhall used the laws of physics and Newton's third law to try to talk himself out of a speeding fine on Tuesday.

But magistrates were having none of the science and fined him £154 with £100 costs and a £15 surcharge.

Donald Johnstone, of Bittering Street, Gressenhall, said a sneezing fit caused him to break the speed limit but he questioned the accuracy of a speed camera.

The court heard how a static speed camera in Shipdham Road, Toftwood, recorded Johnstone doing 40mph in the 30mph zone on his 1,000cc Honda motorcycle on the evening of May 14 last year.

Safety camera officer Christopher Smith told Swaffham magistrates he had installed the camera on the morning that Johnstone was caught.

During the installation, which generally took about 10 minutes, he had carried out all the regular checks and the camera had been working correctly.

Johnstone, who represented himself, said: “Unfortunately, as I approached the lines in the road I suffered a sneezing fit.

“My sneezes tend to be extremely violent and I accept that my speed must have increased because of the movement of my hands.

“I accept that I was travelling at 30mph before my speed increased but I was certainly not travelling at 40mph or anywhere near.”

In a lengthy and complex speech in which Johnstone used the laws of physics and Newton's third law to explain his point, he questioned the accuracy of the speed camera, arguing that when it had been installed that day the static box in which it was housed had not been checked.

He said the camera instructions stated that to work correctly it needed to be positioned at an angle of 20 degrees but that measurements he had taken showed that the housing had moved and this was not the case.

But chairman of the bench Margaret Oechsle told Johnstone that the court could not act as experts on the camera issue and what was not in question was that he had been speeding.

Finding him guilty, she said: “You accept that your speed increased and with any speed over 31mph our sentencing guidelines come into play.”

Johnstone was told he would have three points added to his licence, which already has three points on it.


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