PROSECUTORS say a routine speeding case has highlighted the need for motorists to be wary of some online information sources after a motorist ended up with £1,000 costs.
David Flacks, of Cherry Dale Road, Broughton, was summonsed for breaking the 30mph speed limit on the B5129 at Sandycroft, Deeside, in April 2012 after he was caught by a Gatsometer.
The Crown Prosecution Service in Wales say he denied the offence, citing a variety of issues including defective signage and lighting, as well as claims that no valid traffic order was in place.
Justin Espie, associate prosecutor, said: “When material was supplied to Mr Flacks answering his queries, his defence changed to one claiming radio signals at the location were interfering with the Gatsometer device.
“He was invited to review the Gatsometer photos and conduct his own speed, distance and time calculations to confirm the speeding reading was correct.”
Mr Flacks was advised that, while it was his right to challenge the evidence, the costs of countering all his claims were mounting and should he be convicted, he would be liable to a substantial fee in addition to any fine.
Mr Flacks emailed the court just before his trial date and changed his plea to guilty.
At Wrexham Magistrates Court he was fined £60, had his licence endorsed with four penalty points and was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,000.
After sentencing Mr Espie said: “This was a straightforward speeding case at a well established site.
“Had Mr Flacks accepted the evidence at the outset he could have received a fixed penalty or even an offer of a speed awareness course, avoiding the imposition of penalty points altogether.
“Instead, after nine months with multiple court hearings, volumes of correspondence and challenges to every aspect of the case, he ultimately changed his plea to guilty at the last minute.
“This case highlights the risks of taking advice from internet sources which may have little or no legal basis.
“I feel a degree of sympathy for people who take such advice and act upon it, only to find themselves paying huge fines and costs.
“Before embarking on this approach people really need to carefully consider that the law is well established.
“The speed detection devices are rigorously tested and there are few acquittals at trial.
“While no one is happy to receive a notice, to challenge one is a high risk, high consequence strategy.”