THE State Government has sought a briefing on possible legal ramifications for speeding fines after a policewoman beat one of Melbourne's most hated speed cameras.
Rosebud Senior Constable Faye Pitman used the evidence of a 16-year-old work experience student to raise enough doubt that she had been travelling at the clocked speed of 106 km/h along the notorious EastLink stretch.
The EastLink cameras have angered scores of drivers who claim they have been unfairly fined.
But until yesterday no one managed to have an infringement overturned.
Have you ever been clocked doing 106km/h on East Link? Mobile pics or video: MMS us on 0404 333 444
Sen-Constable Pitman, a 20-year police officer, was in tears after the charge was dismissed.
The crucial evidence came from high school student Erin McKernan, who was in the police car at the time on work experience.
Ms McKernan, now 18, told the court she looked at the car's speedometer just before reaching the Dandenong bypass, where the camera was mounted.
She said the marked police car had been travelling at 95-96 km/h. Sen-Constable Pitman said she had been doing 98km/h.
Magistrate Gerard Bryant threw out the case, despite prosecutor Rob Taylor's argument that tests on the speed camera showed it was accurate and that evidence from Sen-Constable Pitman was "slight and unconvincing".
Police Association secretary Greg Davies said the decision to dismiss the fine could open avenues for other drivers.
Legal experts agreed the surprise victory could open the floodgates.
Prosecutors have not ruled out an appeal, but the Herald Sun believes it is unlikely.
Police Minister Peter Ryan was on the back foot last night.
"In light of today's ruling, I have sought a briefing from Victoria Police and the Department of Justice as to how this decision relates to the current legislative framework," he said.
Legal experts and police officers said the case would be a launching pad for others.
"This could open Pandora's Box for everyone else," one officer said.
Barrister and traffic law expert Michael Kuzilny said it would have significant ramifications.
"It's a really great thing. Previously, it has been impossible for people to prove that they weren't speeding," he said.
"It means there will be a floodgate opening of people challenging, and many, many more people and angry drivers questioning their fines."
Barrister Theo Alexander said the decision would likely "embolden many motorists who have been charged in similar circumstances to challenge their speeding fine".A colleague said Sen-Constable Pitman was regarded as a careful driver who did not speed.
"She's like Driving Miss Daisy - that's why everyone's been on her side."
heraldsun.com.au 6 Sep 2011