Generally speaking in Scotland, all criminal charges against an individual required to be “corroborated”. This means that all the essential facts need to come from two independent sources of evidence. However, there are some occasions where this general rule is departed from in practice.
In a recent Sheriff Appeal Court criminal case, the Prosecutor appealed against the decision of a Justice of the Peace, who had granted a no case to answer submission on behalf of a driver who had been charged with a speeding offence.
The Justice of the Peace had granted a no case to answer submission on the basis that an average speed camera did not provide sufficient corroboration to prove the charge against the driver and had accordingly dismissed the case.
Average speed cameras are becoming increasingly abundant in their numbers and position in Scottish roads and roads across the UK. Average speed cameras make it extremely easy to identify if a driver of any vehicle has been speeding over a set distance between the camera devices.
In this case, the Sheriff Appeal court said in the decision that the use of average speed cameras in evidence in criminal courts is analogous to the evidence provided by manual measurements taken by a police officer. They identify the identity of the vehicle, the point at which it entered & left the road, and the length of the carriageway in the same way a police officer would.
The bench of three judges held in a decision delivered by the Sheriff Principal that this was analogous to a previous case, where the identity of the vehicle, the point at which it entered & left the road and the distance between them was deemed sufficient to prove the charge, so long as they were reliable. They also said that in those circumstances, that corroboration is not required. Accordingly, they quashed the Justice of the Peace’s decision to grant the no case to answer submission and ordered that the trial of the driver for speeding resume.
In an era of tightening public sector budgets, average speed cameras or other devices will become more commonplace as a way of telling if drivers have committed a speeding offence.
If you need any advice regards to a road traffic offence, please contact us today. Our specialist team are ready to take your call.