Caught on Camera
A potential legal loophole that had been exposed in road traffic legislation was firmly sewn shut by a Privy Council ruling in the case of Margaret Brown (05/12/00).
Prior to their ruling there had been lower court decisions in both Scotland and England, which indicated that asking drivers to confirm whether they were the driver of the car at the time of an offence was contrary to Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and was therefore illegal. Without such evidence many speed camera prosecutions would simply fail as the driver could not be established.
However the five law lords, sitting as the Privy Council, which is now the final court of appeal on devolution cases from Scotland, have now ruled that such evidence is admissible, as the driver's right to a fair trial and privacy has to be balanced with the right to safety of the wider community.
The decision is binding on both the courts in England and Scotland.
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