A MERSEYSIDE businessman’s court victory could pave the way for hundreds of challenges to speeding convictions.
A judge acquitted BT director Colin Mattey of speeding after it was found a handheld speed gun used by police had not had all the necessary Home Office checks.
When the reading from the gun was thrown out as evidence, Mr Mattey, 51, of Birkenhead, walked free from court.
He had been accused of driving his BMW 630i at 46mph in a 30mph zone in Mount Road, Bebington, on May 25 last year.
But his solicitors challenged the use of the equipment used to trap speeding drivers and proved the Unipar SL700 speed gun was not up to scratch.
Every speed testing device has to undergo an annual “MoT” and, if it passes, stays on the Home Office approved list.
Despite appearing on the list, the speed gun used by Merseyside police had not been checked to make sure it was calibrated properly when it underwent its last test, so its pass certificate was invalid.
Jeanette Miller, senior partner at motor defence specialists Geoffrey Miller Solicitors, which represented Mr Mattey, said: “It is possible convictions could now be overturned when that specific certificate was relied upon.
“The significance of the outcome of this case could be far-reaching and affect every ongoing prosecution involving a Unipar SL700 in the country.
“This device was referred to as the ‘Rolls-Royce of speed detection devices’, so this major omission will undoubtedly cause great embarrassment to Unipar, the police and the Home Office.”
But both Merseyside police and the Home Office today defended the speed gun.
A police spokesman said: “In light of the decision, we have reviewed the case and are satisfied the device used to record the speed was Home Office approved and was used in accordance with ACPO guidelines.
“The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is also reviewing the matter.”
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “We are satisfied all current approved speed meters merit their status and, if properly used, will function correctly, giving a reliable reading which can be depended on in court.”
A CPS Merseyside spokeswoman said: “The case is under active consideration and, if appropriate, we will be appealing the decision.”
Last year, Merseyside police cut the number of fatalities on the region’s roads by 35%, a drop of 16 deaths.
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