February 18, 2006 at 12:06 pm #11478Born2BMildParticipant
By Stephen White
A BIKER who challenged a speeding ticket was yesterday landed with a bill for £4,500 – after police flew in a US expert to prove their case.
Dave Harris was convinced the laser camera which clocked him at 90mph had malfunctioned and lodged an appeal after being given five penalty points on his licence.
The police responded by hiring Jeremy Dunne, Technical Vice President of the US firm that supplied the equipment.
Self-employed Mr Harris, 46, dropped the action. But to his horror he was told to pay all Mr Dunne’s costs, including air fare, car hire, phone calls and stationery.
Mr Harris’s barrister Nick Cartmell told Newcastle crown court the figure was “eye watering”.
He said prosecutors were having “caviar and champagne” with their £4,000 witness – compared to the “bacon and eggs” cost of their own expert at just £400.
Mr Cartmell added: “The Crown have taken a very large sledge hammer to squash a case.”
But Judge John Evans ordered Mr Harris to pay the £3,900 cost of recruiting Mr Dunne, plus £600 court costs, within 12 months.
He said: “Once an appellant embarks on challenging equipment, this has an impact nationally .”
Mr Harris, from Corbridge, had been clocked at 20mph over the 70mph limit on the A69 at Naffer-ton, Northumberland, in 2004.
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