You weren’t driving
In some cases the wrong person is charged with an offence. There are a variety of ways in which this can occur. It may be that there was an administrative error on the prosecution’s behalf or perhaps, the offender was carrying your identification which they presented to police. It is a complete defence to this charge if it can be shown that you were not driving the vehicle.
No Proof of Your Speed
You will have a defence to this charge in the event that no prescribed means of speed detection (e.g. speed camera) was used.
In some cases the speed of a vehicle may be determined by the police following and timing an offender whilst in their vehicle. This method is commonly referred to as ‘Time and Follow’. There is criteria that makes this method of detection valid. However, often police will not be able to adequately calculate the speed using this method which may result in the charges being withdrawn.
Defective equipment used to measure speed
In some cases your most appropriate defence might be of a slightly more technical nature and may require the evidence of experts in the relevant field to defend the charge. In relation to speeding offences it may be possible to present evidence to show that the speed detection device had been miscalibrated, that there was interference from another vehicle, or any number of other technical defects which will offer a defence to this charge.
Reasonable and honest mistake of fact (Proudman v Dayman Defence)
If you genuinely believed that the speed at which you were travelling was less than or equal to the prescribed limit and it was reasonable for you to hold that belief (e.g. defective speedometer) then you may have a defence to this charge.
It is a complete defence to this charge if we can show that you were acting under duress. That is, you were acting as a result of violence, or some other threat against you. The Court will need to be presented with evidence that indicates that you were coerced into the act by a third party, effectively rendering you an instrument of someone else’s criminal conduct.
The common law defence of necessity operates where the circumstances at hand (natural or human threats) require you to break the law in order to avoid even more dire consequences. Thus, there is some overlap with the defence of duress. It will need to be shown that you believed on reasonable grounds that you were placed in a situation of imminent peril. You may have a medical justification or it may be the case that you were acting in the course of protecting yourself or someone else.
Essentially, the Court will need to weigh up the act you have committed against the harm you would have experienced had you not acted in that manner. Further, the Court will need to be convinced that the act was proportionate to the potential harm.
The law recognises that in some cases people will not be capable of evaluating the nature and quality of their conduct or more categorically, they will not know what they are doing is wrong. If it can be shown that you were suffering from some sort of mental disease, disorder or disturbance, as distinguished from a mere lack of self-control or impulsiveness, then you may have a defence to this charge.
Mental impairments may be either permanent or non-permanent and may include disorders such as:
- Psychomotor epilepsy
- Cerebral arteriosclerosis