The man who spearheaded a high-profile campaign against speed cameras in the Highlands has been left embarrassed – after being caught speeding.
Mike Burns, founding member of the group “A9 Average Speed Cameras Are Not The Answer”, was fined £180 this week after being captured by a speed camera doing 40mph in a 30mph zone.
But while he “holds his hands up” to the offence, he has now embarked on a fresh battle with the authorities to have his conviction thrown out.
The Foyers-based campaigner has raised a series of complaints over the “shocking” handling of the process by police, prosecutors and the court service.
Mr Burns shot to prominence in 2013 when he became the most outspoken opponent of the Scottish Government’s controversial introduction of average speed cameras on the A9 Inverness to Perth road.
A mobile speed camera captured Mr Burns driving his Volkswagen Passat at 40mph just a few feet from the signs that mark the end of the 30mph zone near Cromdale on the A95, at 10.17am, on February 20.
“I could have just taken the fixed penalty and be done with it, but I thought I would go through the process to learn about it, because I’m always banging on about it,” he told the Press and Journal.
“I hold my hands up to it, but I have to question the process.
“I think by going through the process, I would say, as a safety campaigner, I’m thoroughly shocked by it.”
Mr Burns was fined £180 at the Justice of the Peace Court in Inverness on Wednesday and had his licence endorsed with three points.
However, he has raised a series of concerns in relation to the procedures which led to the penalty, and what he called “interesting discrepancies”.
His initial complaint, which was upheld after a police investigation but has since been referred to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) for a further review, relates to “inaccurate” information provided to him in correspondence with the East Scotland Safety Camera manager Andrew Jones, claiming he had been caught by a fixed camera rather than a mobile one.
Meanwhile, Mr Burns’ appeal is based on claims the camera operator changed his witness statement from saying the traffic was “light” at the time and the weather “dry”, to there being sleet and moderate traffic, alleging there are doubts over whether a “weather filter” was being used when the image was taken.
He has also raised concerns about the speed camera having not been aimed directly at the centre of his number plate, as the manual for the device advises.
“The appeal is based on the fact the fiscal admitted in court that the camera wasn’t sighted on the right part of the car and because the main witness was unable to provide any evidence that the right weather filters were used,” he said.
The police and the procurator fiscal service declined to comment last night.
A spokesman for the PIRC said: “We received an application in respect of the complaints made by Mr Burns about Police Scotland.
“The application has been accepted and a full Complaint Handling Review is now being conducted.
“Mr Burns will be kept fully informed with the progress of the review.”