Police Convict Michael Thompson For Warning Drivers To Obey The Law
MICHAEL Thompson is 64. Only July 21, 2010, he was motoring on the A46 in Grimsby. He spotted a police speed trap. A policewoman with a speed gun was by the roadside. (Insert sexist joke about cash cow her, if you dare.) The Daily Mail says he has been…
“…convicted of a criminal offence for flashing his headlights at oncoming motorists to warn them of a police speed trap ahead.”
Mr Thompson is pulled over. What occurred next seems a little confused. But Mr Thompson seems to have challenged the police. And they never like that. The report says that an officer told Mr Thompson:
“I was going to let you off with a caution – but I’m not now.”
If true, that is arbitrary justice.
The matter went to Grimsby Magistrates’ Court. There he was fined £175, ordered to pay £250 costs and a £15 victims’ surcharge for preventing a policewoman from doing her duty.
“It is not an offence to warn people of a possible speed trap because of the danger involved with vehicles braking quite hard.”
But if they weren’t speeding, they would have no need to break hard. Although, as with all accidents, it is the stopping rather than the going that is the dangerous part.
“It’s a civic duty to warn people. I flashed my lights. I had a very good reason to warn oncoming motorists, in my opinion. My first thought was: ‘This may cause an accident.’ I tried to warn vehicles that there was a speed trap. Because I challenged the officer he would not let me off with a warning.”
But the police’s case is an odd one. Here’s what prosecutor John Owston told Thompson:
“You were doing it to warn them of a speed trap because as a motorist you don’t want other motorists to be caught speeding. You wanted to make sure that people who were speeding slowed down.”
Which is why the police use dummy speed cameras and cardboard cut-outs of coppers with speed guns. The police use such devices to – get this – make sure that people who are speeding slow down. Is Mr Thompson doing the police’s job for them? Is he impersonating a copper?
The presiding magistrate Jean Ellerton rules:
“We found that your flashing of your headlights was an obstruction, we found that you knew this action would cause vehicles to slow down and cause other motorists to avoid the speed trap and avoid prosecution.”
Do you see? Warning other drivers that speeding is wrong is a criminal offence. He is a criminal because he wanted others to comply with the law…