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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 December 2006, 13:08 GMT
Hedge helps man beat speed fine
A motorist has won a High Court battle to overturn a speeding fine after arguing he could not see the roadside warning signpost.

John Coombes, from Wells, Somerset, was fined for speeding in a 30mph zone near the city in 2005.

He argued that an overgrown hedge meant he could not see a signpost warning of the restriction.

His conviction was quashed by two senior High Court judges in London on Wednesday.

This judgment has confirmed what many motorists have always felt
Jeffrey Bannister, solicitor

They ruled that, because of an obscured sign, he had not had sufficient warning that he was passing from a 40mph zone into a 30 mph stretch.

Mr Coombes' solicitor, Jeffrey Bannister, said: "This judgment has confirmed what many motorists have always felt.

"Namely that they should not be convicted if trees and hedges overhanging or obscuring signs mean they cannot properly see the signs, and they are not given adequate notice of changes in the speed limit."

Mr Coombes was caught in a police speed trap on the B3139 Bath Road at Horrington near Wells last July.

He was convicted of speeding by Mendip magistrates in January and fined 250 and ordered to pay 150 legal costs.

At Bristol Crown Court, both conviction and fine were upheld in April, and he was ordered to pay an extra 229 legal costs.

The High Court said his legal costs should be reimbursed out of public funds.


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