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Richard Keedwell explains to the CCRC why he is an innocent victim of a wrongful conviction


On 30/11/16, I visited Worcester with my wife for Christmas shopping. A few days later I received an NIP (Notice of Intended Prosecution) from West Mercia police stating that my car had committed the offence of exceeding a 30 MPH speed limit. I was sure I hadn’t and sought the advice of Tony Glastonbury who I had spoken to earlier about erroneous speeding charges. He in turn recommended I speak to Tim Farrow, an ex-RAF man, expert in Radar. Tim advised that in his opinion it was very likely that the GATSO (Gatsometer) had given a false reading due to “Double Doppler”. ACPO/NPCC guidelines refer to exercising extreme caution if two vehicles are in the photos of an enforcement, even suggesting discarding it. This would suggest that the possibility of 'Double Doppler' was known from the outset of the use of GATSOs.


I decided that I would plead Not Guilty and seek a magistrates' court hearing, mainly to give Tim a chance to air his explanation. We applied for an SJPN on 15/03/17. Tony would speak in court and Tim would be the expert witness. On 28/03/17 I was notified that I’d been found guilty. An attempt to quash it at the SJPN (Single Justice Procedure Notice) stage and bully me into dropping it.

 

Very annoyed, I decided to fight this and took on a barrister who Tim knew. At this stage, I knew barristers are expensive, but anticipated only a magistrates' court hearing and probably a Crown Court Appeal (Tony and Tim had warned me that magistrates' courts are unsympathetic ,“police courts” was the phrase used.) So it proved. There was no case management, trying to kick the can down the road, knowing it was costing a lot of money by simply putting for listing by the court knowing full well that it wouldn’t even get started (the Camera Office manager, in writing at the outset, stated that both experts would have to give their evidence – i.e. it would take 2/3 full days) to try to force me to drop it.


Ignoring an instruction from a District Judge, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) refused to say whether an NIP had gone out to the other car in the photos. Why? I had no way of checking whatever they said and we were not asking for names. It has been suggested to me that they would not do so knowing the consequences of of being found to be lying. Which only points to one thing here! 


Further to this, there was a crude attempt to frighten me off with threats of loading costs, calling GATSO’s Ted Janssen as a witness, at huge cost. And, Tim discovered that the GATSO was misaligned! Fortunately for the police and the CPS, however, the GATSO was taken down for roadworks before it could be checked by Tim in company with the Police’s expert witness.

 


Magistrates' court


Finally, on 31/07/18 and 03/08/18 (NB: not two consecutive days) a magistrates' court hearing was held. A District Judge, Mr. Nigel Cadbury, opening the Mag. Ct. hearing stated:


" Why is my time being wasted. He's guilty."


Some might say that he was hand-picked for the case. I really couldn't comment. He, then, said he had to withdraw for a couple of hours to review the evidence! Then, evidence from a police constable in the Camera Office was found to be utterly untrue – he stated there were repeater signs “all round the area”. There were not. Great consternation – lying? Perjury? Apparently not. Mr. Cadbury said: “ You’re mistaken, aren’t you?”, possibly leading the witness. The bias of the Court was so obvious that it was no surprise that Tim, my expert witness, was barely listened too. I was again found guilty.

 


Crown Court


An appeal was lodged straight away to the Crown Court (District Judge Cadbury said he knew there would be). A date was offered in November, but my barrister had booked a holiday. Another date was set for 16/04/19, but at the hearing the prosecution brief had only just received the brief and hadn’t had time to study it. Another adjournment. But not before the RSS (Road Safety Support/police support) had, yet, again threatened to load the costs by staging a “reconstruction of the speeding”, which any expert could tell you would prove nothing – it simply could not be reproduced!  Finally, my case was heard at the Crown Court on 27-29/08/19 before Recorder Mrs Devinder Lachhar and two others.


The outstanding point was a challenge to the prosecution’s expert witness. Tim had found that in a similar case he had contradicted completely a point in my case. This was that the GATSO, having determined a vehicle is speeding, triggers the camera to take a photograph when said vehicle has left the radar beam. In my case he stated it took the photo while the vehicle was still in the beam. This was because, as the camera was misaligned, my car appeared to be in the middle of the beam when photographed. Naturally, he, on behalf of the police et al, could not admit it was misaligned, so he, er, well, call it what you will. This was a point that I made in my application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC).


The Camera Office PC also excelled himself. Admitting his mistake over the repeater signs, he then claimed that there was “ a 30 painted in the road”.


In fact, at the time of the alleged offence, there wasn’t. Despite this though, and after hardly listening to Tim, Mrs. Lachhar pronounced that she preferred the evidence of the prosecution witnesses. Still guilty. My barrister advised against a Judicial Review. After what I’d witnessed thus far and the cost involved I agreed.

 

A last point – Secondary Checking was cited as confirming that I was exceeding the speed limit. This was claimed to be 35.9 mph. In actual fact, the secondary check is not accurate and is only used as a “ballpark” figure to confirm the GATSO reading. In a previous case, Tim had shown that a camera back office staff member hadn’t done one! Again, fortunately for the CPS, it immediately dropped that case, thus sparing that office (and the system in general) enormous embarrassment.

 

It should be clear to anyone that Tim Farrow had touched upon a very sensitive point. Had it been proved in a court of law it would have opened up a can of worms on the use of GATSOs, and speed devices generally. This begs police s the question: "Why did they not drop it at the outset?"


My view is simply because, if they had, it would have been used as an excuse by many motorists charged. We verbally understand that the RSS (the police’s technical support) weren't keen to pursue it. Perhaps, because West Mercia's Chief Constable, Anthony Bangham, is particularly hard on speeding. One can also look back to comments in a Times interview by one Meredydd Hughes in which he spoke of motorists "trying it on".


I was prepared to lose the case - but not in the way I did. Bear in mind that the fine stayed the same, as did the points. The only way I could be punished for daring to challenge them was by loading the costs of the case. Which they did.


I should also say that Tim Farrow had served in the RAF in a role on bomb and missile aiming, and was an acknowledged expert in radar. The police witness was not. I sought confirmation of Tim’s theory with another leading expert, Dr David Stupples of UCL. He agreed totally with Tim, and actually commented:


“How do they get away with saying this in Court?”


As you probably know, because Courts are not experts in radar, but they do instinctively trust policemen.



Conclusion


By way of conclusion, I can provide documentary evidence of everything I have said. It's in black and white. I am determined to fight on. Since my Crown Court hearing, the Post Office scandal has come to light. I appreciate that my case is not in the same league, but the same principle applies – the “establishment” cannot afford to have its equipment found to be at fault and will do all it can to prevent that.


I would further add that police numbers are being reduced for financial reasons. This means greater and greater use of cameras of all sorts to replace them. Heaven forbid any suggestion that they can make mistakes. Oh, and I raised complaints with West Mercia Police Professional Standards, WM PCC and the IOPC. All commendably supported their men.

 

Thank you for reading the details of my case, which I believe gives an illuminating insight into the criminal justice system in this country. Some might claim it’s little better than Russia, China, North Korea, just with a much smoother veneer. I wouldn’t like to comment.



By Richard Keedwell


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