78 year old campaigner

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    A 78-YEAR-OLD man trapped for speeding by a traffic camera on Aylestone Hill in Hereford has criticised magistrates for not allowing him to have his full say in court.

    Mervyn Morgan, of Walford, near Ross-on-Wye, admitted the offence, was fined £60 with £35 costs and three points on his licence.

    He chose to appear in court, he said, so that he could speak up about concerns related to his own case and the anxiety over speed cameras being expressed by other elderly and retired people of his acquaintance.

    They were afraid, he said, that like him they could become criminals at a flash of a camera.

    A spokesman for Hereford magistrates has dismissed the claim that he was not given the chance to state his case.

    Mr Morgan, a driver for over 50 years without a blemish, is the founder of Herefordshire Active Retirement Association. He is also a leading member of CPRE.

    He told the Hereford Times that worry over speed cameras could become a neurosis with elderly people, especially in rural areas where they relied on their cars. It also created extra hazards, with drivers concentrating more on their speedometers than on the road.

    His own `flash point’ with the camera on Aylestone Hill happened on April 6.

    Mr Morgan, a retired management consultant, said he admitted the speeding charge but gave notice to the court that he wanted to attend and mitigate.

    When he addressed the magistrates he explained his interest in social problems for the elderly and their concerns over speed cameras.

    But he was told he must mitigate only on the incident of speeding.

    Mr Morgan said he tried to draw attention to information sent to him with his summons.

    This was by the Safety Camera Partnership and West Mercia Constabulary saying that it followed national guidelines published by the Association of Chief Police Officers that for enforcement of speed limits they recommended that action commences at a margin of 10 per cent plus 2mph.

    Mr Morgan said had gone to a court for justice and had been ordered to pay an extra £35 in costs for his trouble, he said.

    He said that he had been asked by the court, in view of his concerns, if he would like to change his plea to not guilty, but he declined because he admitted to driving over 30mph.

    A spokesman for Herefordshire magistrates said: “Mr Morgan was allowed to address the bench fully on the offence to which he was pleading guilty and to his financial circumstances.”

    Best Regards
    Stuart XV16

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    The courts, prosecutors and politicians arent interested in public concern or opinion. It doesnt matter what age, race or gender you are. The only thing that is of concern to them is that fines are paid and the koffers are filled! Mr Morgan has a point about drivers concerntrating too much on their speedos rather than the road. Surely, if they were interested in safety, his concern would have been noted but this will never be the case. Another concern is that drivers may brake suddenly to avoid being flashed by these cameras and that is another obvious hazard. In my opinion the money they spend on new cameras would be better spent improving the driving skills of road users and not on more cameras.

    The roads are my race track!!

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