Traffic officer who 'clocked' tycoon made error, Legco told

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 January, 2008, 12:00am

The Secretary for Justice has revealed that the policeman who caught Peter Lam Kin-ngok speeding was 100 metres out in describing the position of the tycoon's Ferrari.

Mr Lam was allegedly clocked doing 114km/h in a 50km/h zone, but then pleaded guilty to driving at 79km/h, a speed that would not cost him his licence. The case earlier this month has seen more than 100 motorists appeal against their fines as the officer admitted breaching the guidelines on using laser guns.

Secretary for Justice Wong Yan-lung said this mistake was the main reason for the prosecution reducing the severity of the speeding charge.

Mr Wong said a sketch produced by Senior Constable Chan Tak-cheung, which showed the exact location where the chairman of Lai Sun Development was caught speeding, was exposed as being incorrect during cross-examination in the court.

According to Magnum Ng, solicitor for Mr Lam, the officer said in his testimony that the distance between the laser gun and the car was 180.5 metres. But the sketch showed it was actually 280 metres.

Mr Wong said the officer's evidence 'turned out to be weaker than expected', which posed difficulties for the prosecution's case.

'This is the main reason why the prosecution believed there was less than a reasonable chance to secure a conviction on the original summons,' Mr Wong said in the Legislative Council yesterday. He added that the defence counsel had asked the prosecution to consider offering no evidence - effectively dismissing the case - but the request was turned down.

'The prosecuting counsel, however, pointed out that a better proposal might be considered,' Mr Wong said. 'Eventually, the defence counsel informed the prosecutor that the defendant was willing to plead guilty to speeding at 79 km/h.'

Mr Ng said Mr Wong's claims would be studied by the defence team. 'The prosecution had asked if we had any 'middle-of-the-road solution'. We then indicated our instruction that our client would accept a charge of no more than 30km/h above the speed limit,' he said. 'It was the prosecution's proposal to amend the charge to 79km/h.'