Ticket was not a fair cop - court
Timaru man Steve Newman has taken on the law and won.
He was in court last week, fighting for justice, after another motorist told police he had been driving "erratically".
It was a case of mistaken identity, he said.
In April Mr Newman appeared before two justices of the peace in the Christchurch District Court on a charge of failing to keep to the left of the road.
He was ordered to pay a $150 fine and costs after he was found to have failed to keep to the left of the road on State Highway 1 between Amberley and Cheviot.
Mr Newman said that motorist was not him.
The saga started on December 20 last year when he was stopped by a police officer in Cheviot who told him a member of the public had complained that his vehicle had repeatedly driven over the white centre line. He was accused by the policeman of crossing the centre line up to 12 times and was handed an infringement notice.
In his defence, Mr Newman wrote several letters to police, and last week fought to clear his name in the High Court in Christchurch, with the help of barrister Gary Gotlieb.
Their efforts paid off, with the conviction being overturned.
Justice David Gendall said the police failed to prove the charge against Mr Newman to the "adequate standard" and the conviction "was clearly against" the weight of evidence.
Justice Gendall found it unusual the police officer had made no effort to question the three other occupants of Mr Newman's car.
Mr Newman, in his defence, also noted police had failed to get all details of the offending vehicle.
"For the charge in question to be properly proven it was, of course, fundamental that the police proved beyond reasonable doubt that the vehicle observed ... was the same vehicle ... pointed out to the police sergeant," Justice Gendall said.
He said notes of evidence showed the complainant, when cross-examined, could not recall the colour of the car and was never asked to describe the car she saw crossing the centre line.
Mr Gotlieb said it was concerning to know people were being accused without a proper police investigation.
At the least, the police should have interviewed the three passengers in Mr Newman's car, he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News