A woman received a suspended prison sentence and was ordered to pay £2000 after fitting a laser jammer device to her BMW.
Debra Anne Brown of Appleton Wiske, North Yorkshire, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice and given a nine month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, at the hearing at Teesside Crown Court on Friday (May 3, 2019).
The court heard Mrs Brown, was driving her BMW 135i along the A170 near Nawton, North Yorkshire on November 10, 2017 when a safety camera van from North Yorkshire Police’s Traffic Bureau attempted to measure the speed of her vehicle.
Believing that the 56-year-old was travelling in excess of the speed limit, the safety camera van made four successive attempts to capture the speed of Mrs Brown’s BMW.
However, due to interference being received from the vehicle – the safety camera was unable to determine her speed.
North Yorkshire Police launched an investigation into the incident which was led by Police Constable Andrew Forth.
Mrs Brown’s vehicle was seized by PC Forth and examined by laser jammer specialists, Steve Callaghan and Paul Taylor, of Road Safety Support.
The examination found that the BMW had been fitted with a Laser Pro Park device, which was connected to a Speed Cheetah.
When questioned about the device, Mrs Brown stated it had been fitted to the vehicle to assist her when parking.
Steve Callaghan produced an expert witness report on the circumstances of the attempted speed readings of Mrs Brown’s car and how the device could be seen to interfere with the laser speedmeter.
He also detailed the findings from the inspection of the car.
At the trial PC Forth and Steve Callaghan gave evidence for the prosecution.
Following a two-day hearing, a jury found Mrs Brown guilty of Perverting the Course of Justice and using the jammer to avoid prosecution.
When sentencing Mrs Brown, Judge Bourne-Arton, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, commented that her act made the whole justice system break down.
After the case, Steve Callaghan said:
“The alternative uses claimed for laser jamming equipment is a pre-prepared smoke-screen for drivers who decide to deploy laser jamming equipment.
“Manufacturers and retailers of this equipment rely on the police, the prosecution service and courts’ lack of awareness of laser jammers.
“But thanks to the expertise and training provided by Road Safety Support, laser jammers are now more widely understood in the UK and drivers should be aware that they can now be more readily detected by trained operators.”
Speaking about the investigation and result at court on Friday, PC Forth said:
“This is the seventh person to be successfully prosecuted in North Yorkshire for using a laser jammer device in an attempt to lift themselves above the law and protect themselves from a potential speeding prosecution.
“Using this equipment in this way puts other innocent, law abiding road users at risk by people believing that they can travel at speed with complete immunity from prosecution.
“As the result today shows, this will not be tolerated and myself and my colleagues at the North Yorkshire Police Traffic Bureau will ensure offenders are investigated and brought to justice.
“My advice to those who have these devices fitted to their vehicles, who think they are untouchable, is – remove it.
“If you are found to be using the device to pervert the course of justice, you face a criminal record and a very large fine.”