Radar Detectors in UK: Court Case as Precedent

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A decision by a Doncaster Crown Court Judge late August has pretty much set a precedent on the use of radar devices in the United Kingdom. The court found 61-year-old John Eady guilty of preventing the course of justice by having a device on his Range Rover that blocks police speed guns.

After a four-day trial, the court slapped Eady with a £5,000 fine and was banned from diving a car for 12 months. The police were quick to laud the decision saying the court has sent a strong message to motorists across the UK that devices that block police radar guns are illegal and anyone caught using them will not be left unpunished.

Eady, who was from Sheffield, was targeted by a routine speed check last 2006. The police officer pointed a hand held police speed gun to Eady’s car seeing that the later was ignoring the 40mph speed limit. However, the speed gun failed to record how was Eay was going and even displayed an error message.

The police were able to trace Eady to his in Sheffield where they found installed in his vehicle an LT400, a device used for automatically opening garage doors and incidentally also serves as a good weapon against police radar guns. Upon closer investigation, the police found that Eady’s garage did not contain the other end of the £350 device for it to work as an automatic garage door opener.

The judge found this as proof that Eady bought the device intentionally “to avoiding further points” in his license. However, Eady denied and continue to deny any knowledge that the device was installed in his vehicle and further claimed that the device must have been fitted by mistake when other changes were made to the Range Rover.

Interestingly, however, in a January 29, 1998 decision of the Queen’s Bench Divisional Court, the use of radar detectors was declared not unlawful. Previous arguments claimed that the use of radar detectors was contrary to the Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1949 but then Lord Justice Simon Brown disagreed.

The case was about a 1996 conviction of Marlebone Magistrates’ court for the illegal use of a radar detector of a David Adrian Foot. Foot appealed the decision in Knightsbridge Crown but lost. He then filed for a full judicial review in the Queen’s Bench Divisional Court where the court ruled in his favor.

As to my knowledge, this 1998 decision was never cited during the hearing of Eady’s case. So which case would set an actual precedent to determine if owning and using radar detectors are considered illegal in the UK, I wonder?

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