Challenging infringement may be just the ticket

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 20/12/2013

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Writing in to get off a traffic offence can pay off, according to latest figures.

There were 34,251 infringement notices issued in the Mid-South Canterbury Police Area between November 1, 2012 and October 31, 2013. Of those, 2328 were waived. A further eight were cancelled.

In response to an Official Information Act request by The Timaru Herald, New Zealand Police could not confirm the most common reasons why those infringements were cancelled.

National manager roading policing Superintendent Carey Griffiths said "substantial collation or research" was needed to determine those reasons, which it could not do.

In the wider Canterbury Police District there were 170,735 traffic infringement notices issued, of which 41 were cancelled and 9378 waived.

Nationally there were 1,429,578 infringements issued. Of those, 1034 were cancelled and 70,830 were waived.

Two South Canterbury motorists spoke to the Herald in September, after they were both issued with a traffic fine for an offence they did not commit.

First to tell his story was Timaru man Steve Newman, who won a case of mistaken identity. He was fined this year after another motorist told police he had been driving erratically. Mr Newman said that motorist was not him and his conviction was overturned.

After reading Mr Newman's story, Waimate man John Browne approached the Herald to tell his. In February he was accused by a police officer of speeding in a 50kmh zone in Pine Hill, Dunedin.

He was fined $80 and was told he would also receive 20 demerit points. He asked to see the radar reading, but the response was it had been lost.

Adamant he was not guilty he disputed the fine with the Independent Police Conduct Authority. He gathered up all the evidence he could, including the GPS data in a truck he had been following at the time of the alleged offence, which had a reading of 48kmh.

While gathering evidence, Mr Browne also discovered the officer had written in her notes that her car's radar was not working.

Mr Browne's "not guilty" plea meant he was given a date in the Dunedin District Court, but the day before the case was to be heard he was told it had been dropped because there was a "lack of evidence" to proceed.

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- The Timaru Herald

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