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Red Light Traffic Cameras (Part Deux)

By Aurelius - 16 April 2008 23

A while back, I wrote about how I’d received a traffic infringement notice based on a red light camera. And because the car was stopped (admittedly slightly over the line) and the time of the offence and the photo were different (by 23 hours) I intended to contest it.

Now I have an outcome, I think it might be worth sharing with the RiotACT readership. Especially given what the outcome is.

I informed the Police I would contest the offence. I did not specify the reasons (I think you’re meant to, but I wasn’t going to flag my punches).

I received a letter advising me that the infringement notice had been withdrawn. Why? Not because of either of the reasons I had identified, but because the legislation about red light cameras does not cover turning against a red arrow.

If I had just paid the fine, does anyone here think the Police would be refunding my money? Are the Police still sending out infringement notices for offences they know they have no legal basis for? If so, are they guilty of obtaining monies by deception?

Personally, I think that camera offences should automatically have the photo included at the first instance,  rather than the driver having to request a copy. But that is a side issue next to the theft that is going on by the ACT Police, sending out fines for something they have no legal basis for.

What’s Your opinion?

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23 Responses to
Red Light Traffic Cameras (Part Deux)
Blackwidda 7:58 am 21 Apr 08

I come from Newcastle and puled up at the lights on Hiondmarsh Drive near Fishwyck and had the front wheels over the line, and this was at 10.30pm. I saw that there was a red light camera so I didn’t move. My car is shown stationary, brake lights on, I got a fine in the mail just like you did, I haven’t paid it and have until the 5th of May to register if I am going to contest it. After reading your comments I am now going to contest it and see what happens. If you havea read of the Dictionary and look up what the meaning of the word “Proceed” states, as compared to ehat the police say that ” you proceeded against a red arrow”, to proceed means to complete, to go through.

madman 11:42 pm 17 Apr 08

chaton said :

I made sure I got a good tax return that year….

OMG!!! LOL I love your thinking!!!

chaton 4:13 pm 17 Apr 08

I have a long story I am still bitter about though it happened a few years ago.

Was pulled over for speeding, just as you get off Canberra Avenue towards Queanbeyan. (The police must have been about 2 metres within the ACT boundaries). Came off a 100 zone (from memory) into a 60 zone and was booked at about 70, and coming down.

That was fine, I accepted that I was speeding and for all the other times I have sped but not been caught I figured I would take it on the chin.

However. While they were checking my licence and rego they came back and asked if I had received a ticket I hadn’t paid. Not to my knowledge, I stated. They had apparently given me a parking ticket which I hadn’t paid, and it was so overdue that my car was unregistered. Apparently they had sent me letters to this effect – not sure what address they were being sent to because they certainly never arrived at my house. So I ended up with about $1200 worth of fines.

It was Good Friday. I needed my car to travel for Easter. They wouldn’t let me drive my car so I had to have it towed back to the other side of Canberra (on Good Friday, didn I mention that?). So I had a towing bill too.

I tried to pay the fines, knowing I needed my car over the long weekend, do you think I could give my money to anyone??? No one was open and no one could help me, Canberra Connect had no clue how to handle my situation, and the police, though sympathetic, were equally confused.

I eventually paid the fines (at the post office from memory), thinking I would contest after Easter. I spent about 6 months talking with various official people and in the end, I got onto some lady who stated “if you paid the fines you admitted guilt”. And that was the end of that.

I made sure I got a good tax return that year….

dontdoit 12:31 pm 17 Apr 08

Same thing happened to me – except I was just going straight ahead. no arrows. they agreed i was stopped, but i had to “pay the $250 fine or face the magistrates court”. then three weeks later a cheque arrived, refunding my money. ?!?!?!?!

natecv8 9:46 am 17 Apr 08

RuffnReady said :

Makes me wish I had contested the 106 in a 100 zone I got on the highway from Geelong to Melbourne. 106 on a dead straight 3 lane road with another driver tailgaiting me…

As someone who drives the Princes Freeway twice a day, I can tell you one thing for sure – you would have been doing more than 106 to get hit, despite what the ticket says. Those cameras have a notoriously high tolerance and the general belief here is that you need to be going 110+ to get clicked. Not only that, you could pretty easily have changed lanes to avoid the tailgating.

The ACT coppers might let you off but I doubt you would have had a chance against the VIC police, given their extensive experience in handing out traffic camera fines..

Aurelius 9:26 am 17 Apr 08

For those who are arguing that “The Police don’t issue the fines” – they send the infringement notice, they sign the letters that pass back and forth regarding the dispute. You sign it, you’re responsible for it.
I have now spoken to a former Ombudsman, and intend pursuing this further.
If the law does not provide for the photographic evidence to be used in a court, then the evidence is null. If the evidence is null, the issuing of the infringements is on very shaky legal grounds.
And Serendipity, whilst I agree that there is plenty that goes on the cops do not see, and therefore do not enforce, that does not excuse the issuing of fines in contravention of the legislation.

blaringmike 9:53 pm 16 Apr 08

Definitely not the cops fault. They just do what they are told by Stanhopeless. It’s the thieving ACT local government trying to tax more money out of you.

OpenYourMind2 9:09 pm 16 Apr 08

Just reading Serendipity’s post and feeling like a bit of a stir, I find it amusing that so many people bitch about cyclists going through red lights. And don’t get me wrong plenty do.
But the funny thing is, so many more cars do so every day. The difference is the driver is often hurtling at high speed in a two tonne object.
I’m not justifying either, I’m just pointing out the irony of so much bitching about those terrible cyclists doing something that is so common in car drivers that a requirement exists to install camera and ticketing systems.

Serendipity 8:35 pm 16 Apr 08

This sounds like another ill advised person, who seem to be on the increase on RiotACT who will bash the AFP/ACT Police at any opportunity, even when their facts are totally wrong. ACT Police have nothing to do with speed or red light cameras. I am no fan of speed or red light tickets either but you do the cause no good at all by blaming the police for everything that goes wrong. Redirect your complaint against the right authority. As a further point, count in any day on any major Canberra road the numbers of people who do run a yellow/red or red light/arrow etc and it is very obvious that only a very small percentage of offenders actually get caught….and when they do they scream like a stuck pig. Add to that all those driving with phones to their ears, zooming past at a high speed on the Parkway, except where the camera is located when everyone slows down to correct speed limit. I guarantee that I would see at least half a dozen light, speed or phone offenders each day just driving three suburbs to and from work. I also followed the link the the Australian Road Rules and that confirms that a ticket can legally be issued for a yellow or red light, thats an Australian wide rule. So I say, do the crime pay the fine. Safer roads benefits every one of us.

The_Soarer 5:37 pm 16 Apr 08

Just to clarify, ACT Policing has absolutly nothing to do with the issuing of red light and speed camera fines. They are issued by a section of Urban Services. ACT Policing do, however, handle the appeals process, as they do for appeals of tickets issued by Police officers.

So really, the government has attempt to ‘steal’ from you, and ACT Policing has done the right thing and let you off.

I agree that they shouldn’t be issued if they don’t have the legislation to back them up…

EtFb 4:44 pm 16 Apr 08

I had a similar problem — a red arrow at which I’d stopped, and they called it “running a red light” because my wheels were over the (poorly painted, indistinct, arbitrary) white line. I sent them a letter and they said “no, yah boo sucks, pay the fine”. I spoke to an ex-AFP friend who said that the letter would have come from three public service monkeys working on a quota, and the actual cop who signed the letter knew nothing about it, and probably never even saw my comments.

But — this is the key — once you send a letter contesting a ticket, it has to get forwarded to the magistrates and you get taken to court. If you pay anyway, before the court date, the court date gets cancelled BUT the whole pile of paperwork gets sent to a different copper to review and analyse. It was this process that led to them sending me exactly the same information: “there’s a hole in the law about red arrows, so we’re giving you your money back”.

My theory is that they keep little loopholes in the back of their heads for when the three PS monkeys have overstepped their bounds. They can hardly say “our monkeys are fascist bastards working on a quota”, because (a) it would reflect badly on the force, and (b) the truth hurts. So instead they wait until the wheels of “justice” have done a few spins, and then pull one of these loopholes out of the hat and say “here you go, have one on us”.

I don’t trust the cops in this town (or any town) enough to push it any further than that, frankly.

p1 4:37 pm 16 Apr 08

“Are the Police still sending out infringement notices for offences they know they have no legal basis for?”

Actually, they would have legal basis for it (turning against red is an offence). What they don’t have is a (legally recognised) form of evidence that people are doing it. Kinda tight of then to keep sending out the notices all the same though. I must remember to run all red arrows from now on….

RuffnReady 4:12 pm 16 Apr 08

Well done, sir!

Makes me wish I had contested the 106 in a 100 zone I got on the highway from Geelong to Melbourne. 106 on a dead straight 3 lane road with another driver tailgaiting me…

Duke 4:03 pm 16 Apr 08

Sounds like you had a legitimate point to argue, but as a cyclist and a pedestrian I find it really annoying when people park over that line. If a pedestrian is crossing the road, by parking over that big white line you’re forcing them out into the intersection. A little bit over is forgiveable, but you see these idiot with their back wheels parked on that line.

Thumper 3:56 pm 16 Apr 08

Isn’t it the ACT government, not the police, who deal with fines from cameras?

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