New Zealand policeman caught speeding discharged

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

New Zealand policeman, Sergeant Gregory Arthur Smith was captured on a speed camera over the limit by 65 kilometres per hour (km/h). He has now been discharged without conviction in Invercargill District Court today (UTC+13).

Sergeant Smith, 42-years-old, was initially charged with dangerous driving. After being found not guilty of dangerous driving by Judge Kevin Phillips, he was discharged without conviction for driving at an excess speed.

Judge Phillips said, before he delivered his verdict, that the criterion for Sergeant Smith to be discharged was whether he was posing any danger to the public at his high speed. And, according to Sergeant Smith's lawyer, Bill Dawkins, Queens Drive (where the speed occurred) is different to other roads in New Zealand, "If ever there was a case where a court would not convict then this is the very type of roadway in which this might happen."

According to police witness, Inspector Carey Griffiths, road policing manager, after a few pursuits that had "gone bad" and police speeding, police policy had tightened up.

On February 9, 2006, Sergeant Smith was caught on a speed camera hidden in a van, being operated by a civilian. He was caught going 115 km/h in a school zone in Winton, Invercargill. The speed limit was 50 km/h. Sergeant Smith was responding to a priority one level emergency involving a school bus with ten school children on board and another car.

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