Re: law enforcement for profit

From: Charlie (
Date: Sat May 06 2000 - 04:06:51 MDT

On Fri, May 05, 2000 at 08:40:34PM -0700, Zero Powers wrote:
> >
> >As previously stated by Lee, unless that film clearly shows YOU driving
> >the car, then there can be no citation...
> Wrong. Film showing your car running a red light raises what's called a
> "rebuttable presumption" that *you* committed the infraction. The burden
> then shifts to you to rebut that presumption by admissible evidence. If you
> cannot meet that burden, you lose.

That's how things work in the UK. Or worked ...

In one of those beautiful demonstrations that the legal system has a
life of its own, speed/red light cams were effectively rendered useless
in Scotland about six weeks ago.

(Note: Scotland has a separate, different legal system from England
and Wales.)

Over the past year, the UK government has been following up its
obligations under the Maastricht Treaty by writing the European
Declaration of Human Rights into law as a bill of rights, overriding
other legislation. (It's not quite as good as a separate constitution,
but it's going in the right direction.)

A case was heard of a woman who was found drunk and disorderly in a
Scottish town centre. The cop who arrested her asked her how she'd
gotten there, and she admitted to having driven into town. On appeal,
her conviction for drunk-driving was quashed: the appeal court judge
ruled that she'd been required to incriminate herself (admitting
to drink-driving) because if she hadn't answered the question she'd
have been nailed under a supplementary charge (I forget the precise
details, but something arising from refusing to cooperate with a police
investigation). As this violated her civil rights, her conviction was

An interesting corollary of this finding: when a speeding camera photo
and ticket is issued to a car owner, they're required to either accept
the charge and fine, or produce someone else who'll plead guilty to it.
However, this requires them in effect to incriminate themself, which it
now turns out is a violation of the bill of rights.

So Scotland suddenly woke up one morning to find that speed cams weren't
legal any more. (Like wheel clamps, which are horribly illegal here.
Back in the 1980's a judge ruled on a car owner who sued a business that
clamped their car when it was parked in front of them. It turns out
that wheel clamping is "demanding money with threats", otherwise known
as blackmail, and good for eight to twelve years in pokey. Which is why
if you go to Scotland on a driving holiday your car may be picked up
and towed on order of a police officer, but it's safe from wheel clamps.)

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