St Helena speed camera taking toll of drivers

JOHN GROCOTT was not disputing he may have been speeding when he drove past the now infamous St Helena speed camera.

He just did not think he should lose his licence over it.

That is what brought him, along with at least a dozen others, to Mullumbimby Local Court yesterday.

“I was coming down from Bangalow on the New Year's Eve weekend, down the hill and I remember checking my speed and I went around the corner and must have gathered a bit of speed,” said the Banora Point man.

“It seems that camera is located inappropriately just to raise revenue. I don't want to lose six points.”

The accuracy of the camera, located on the Pacific Highway at Ewingsdale, came into question when hundreds of people fined for speeding in the middle of last year insisted they had not exceeded 60km/h.

The RTA subsequently tested the camera and insisted it was recording accurate speeds, but many people were not convinced.

While Mr Grocott, whose matter was dismissed with no conviction, was not disputing he was speeding, others at the court yesterday remained adamant they were not.

Ian McRae said he pleaded guilty yesterday because he could not prove otherwise.

“I don't believe I was going that fast but I can't get the information to disprove it therefore I have to plead guilty,” he told Magistrate Jeff Linden.

He was convicted but not required to pay the fine.

Russell Comisari, of Burringbar, said he pleaded guilty yesterday reluctantly in the hope of getting a fair hearing.

“This court's not unaware of this camera,” the magistrate said.

“It appears there was a lack of concentration on a downhill run and it is very easy for a modern vehicle to pick up speed on a hill.”

He dismissed the fine and later Mr Comisari said he was pleased with the outcome.

“You never know how it will go until the day but the solicitor was fairly confident because the judge was aware of the situation,” he said.

Some of those before Mullumbimby Court yesterday were contesting fines received in that period last year when the accuracy of the camera was under dispute, others however had received their fines more recently.

This did not seem to affect the magistrate's decisions with him convicting some people fined during the contentious period and dismissing others, like Mr Grocott, who received their fines after the camera had been checked by the RTA.

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