By Caitlin Bewley
(3rd Yr Swinburne Uni)
A man driving on the Western Freeway, clocked by police at 128kph, tried in vain to convince Magistrate Tom Barrett police had the wrong vehicle.
Leading Senior Constable John Volf attended court and gave evidence as the informant, also providing the court with the summary on Friday 31 January.
“Tom Morris was travelling east along the Western Freeway, Ballan on 8 June 2018 when his speed was measured by a radar detection device, showing that speed as 128kph. He was then intercepted,” LSC Volf said.
The court heard Morris was interviewed by police and said he “didn’t think he was travelling that fast,” and when police asked if he had been looking at his speedo he replied “no.”
Morris’ lawyer argued his client’s case, questioning the informant LSC Volf, which lane his client was actually travelling in. The lawyer saying the left lane and LSC Volf saying the right.
“Would you say he was travelling at the same speed as surrounding traffic?” Morris’ lawyer continued.
“I disagree,” LSC Volf replied.
“Was he going faster?” the lawyer said.
“He was going the speed I detected,” LSC Volf rebutted.
Morris’ lawyer went on to ask LSC Volf about the inability to see anything other than the headlights of the cars they were observing.
“There are no streetlights in Ballan, it was dark, it was nighttime,” the accused’s lawyer said.
“I’m suggesting you detected the wrong vehicle,” Morris’ lawyer said. “[Morris] says he was in the left lane; you say he was in the right lane. Your memory is that there was only one vehicle.”
“Would you say your memory is faulty?” Morris’ lawyer said.
“No, they’re my notes,” LSC Volf said.
“Maybe you made a mistake on this occasion,” the accused’s lawyer said.
“No, I do this every day and they’re my notes,” LSC Volf replied.
Prosecutor Sergeant Ivan Blomley asked LSC Volf if he “ever saw Morris change lanes,” to which he replied that Morris did change lanes, but it wasn’t until he was being intercepted.
Morris’ lawyer went on to cross examine a police officer on shift with LSC Volf at the time, who answered questions relating to the process of the radar’s pre-and post-shift checks, and whether Morris was in the left or right lane.
“Your Honour, you cannot be convinced beyond reasonable doubt that relevant checks were made on the device, and the car detected was driven by Mr Morris,” the accused’s lawyer argued.
“[The witnesses] have given evidence that this is their normal process, and there is no reason that they would do anything different,” prosecutor Blomley rebutted.
Magistrate Barrett said he accepts their evidence.
“I accept that the evidence given by the informant proves the identification of the correct vehicle. I find the charge proven,” he said.
Magistrate Barrett re-imposed the initial fine of $317 and did not record a conviction against Morris.