Defeating Justice: Woman (65) arrested for jamming cameras

2008-08-20 00:00

AN elderly farmer from Baynesfield near Pietermaritzburg comfortably drove her powerful Mercedes Benz E5 Class for years allegedly knowing that a speed camera detecting device on her car rendered her untouchable by traffic authorities.

However, the 65-year-old woman learnt a hard lesson yesterday when she was arrested by Msunduzi Municipality traffic officers, who detected the speed camera warning device while driving on Reggie Radebe (Richmond) Road at about 9 am.

She was detained in Alexander police station’s holding cells, but later released on free bail.

The device is called the “Shift 3 Speed Laser jamming device” and is made in Canada. It is illegal to use it on South African roads, said municipal senior traffic officer Daniel Seevaraj.

The laser device prevents speed cameras from recording the speed, while warning the driver that a camera is pointed at the car. “The device warns the driver to slow down as soon as the camera is pointed to the vehicle,” said Seevaraj.

Seevaraj said the suspect stated she was not aware that installing the device is illegal and that she bought it a few years ago after seeing it advertised in a farming magazine.

“When she approached us, she appeared to be speeding, but our camera could not read the speed. Instead the word ‘jammed’ appeared on our camera and it beeped and automatically photographed the front part of the vehicle. Then on the photo we noticed that there were sensors on the vehicle, and we stopped her,” said Seevaraj.

Traffic officers found a sensor above the rear registration plate and two others on the front.

Seevaraj said a number of other drivers have been caught with similar devices, and were fined up to R5 000 in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court.

The suspect’s husband told The Witness that the couple never knew that the device was active. He said he does not have one on his own car.

KZN Transport spokeswoman Nonkululeko Mbatha said that in terms of the Criminal Procedure and Road Traffic acts, the woman could be charged with defeating the ends of justice.

“The Transport Department has no control over the sale of the device. There are also no specific fines for people found to have it in their vehicles. Therefore, it is up to the court to decide the sentence.

“The likelihood is that the device will be removed from the car and sent for expert analysis before being presented in court,” said Mbatha.

The woman will appear in court today.

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