Magistrates’ courts could grind to a halt if thousands of motorists exploit a legal loophole unwittingly exposed by a Welsh driver.
Magistrates had no choice but to find Phillip Dennis, of Whitford, Flintshire, not guilty of speeding when his case was heard on Thursday.
He had omitted to sign the standard form which is sent to the owner of each vehicle caught by a speed camera – and Mold magistrates said they couldn’t accept the form as evidence.
Police have no power to compel car owners to sign the form and have been expecting someone to spot the loophole.
Yesterday the Association of British Drivers, representing about 2,500 motorists, predicted drivers would soon get wind of the court case.
“Motorists are always very quick to seek any way to avoid paying for their speeding ticket, particularly when they’ve been caught by cameras because they resent very much the way the cameras operate,” said spokesman Tony Vickers.
“The cameras have very much reduced public respect for the police and local authorities.
“People are only too glad to find a way to beat the system.”
He said motorists who receive a speeding ticket after being caught on camera could opt to have their case heard in court, rather than pay the fine without quibble.
“If a lot of people take up this option it will have another side-effect, which will be to clog up the magistrates’ courts with hundreds or thousands of motorists all trying to avoid paying the fine.
“The implications for the legal system are interesting, to say the least.”
Although the ABD did not condone breaking the highway laws, it said it would place details of the loophole on its own website for other drivers to read.
“I’m sure a lot of people will try it on and see whether it gets them anywhere.”
The prospect of using the loophole could look especially appealing to people who already had endorsements on their licences, said Mr Vickers.