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Thousands of motorists could be spared fine because of ‘illegal’ signs

Thousands of motorists caught speeding on a stretch of the M42 near Birmingham may be in luck because the variable warning signs were fitted with numbers of an incorrect size.

Two cases have so far been dropped because of the ‘illegal’ signs – known officially as Advanced Motorway Indicators or AMIs – located next to the camera. It’s thought thousands of other motorists who were also slapped with a fine, received points or lost their driving licence could now get their convictions overturned.

The solicitor for the two drivers, Matt Reynolds, originally discovered the enforcement camera had ‘wrong shaped numbers’ back in November 2012, making it unlawful and therefore unable to issue fines. This turn of events led to police suspending prosecutions for several weeks until the correct font stipulated by the Department for Transport was implemented.

Although prosecutions for the two speeding drivers were being sought, Freedom of Information requests made by Mr Reynolds revealed conversations that showed the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was aware of the illegal signs, yet had continued to issue fines for 13 months from October 2011. Only when this evidence came to light did the CPS back down.

“Shortly after the CPS became aware that the minutes of these meetings were in the possession of the defence they discontinued the cases,” Mr Reynolds explained. “I find it hard to believe that the timing of this decision was a coincidence.

“In the circumstances it is only fair and consistent that all speeding convictions associated with these speed limit signs during this period are overturned and indeed all fixed penalties reversed and drivers refunded,” he added.

Other motorways affected by the signage blunder were the M1, M4, M5, M6, M20, M25 and M40.

If you were caught speeding between October 2011 and November 2012 on the M42 between junction 7 and 9, you may be able to get your convictions overturned, although this will be down to the discretion of the police chief constable.

To appeal, you will need to write to said police chief constable, explaining why you think you were treated unfairly. For cases that made it to court, you will need your solicitor to reopen the case.

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