Press coverage of cartoon controversy

By 21st April 2010 January 22nd, 2019 No Comments

The Article reproduced below was contained in the kent on Saturday/Sunday for the weekend of 18/19 April 2010 “Outrage of speed camera chiefs as “legal loophole” ad targets motorists”. A law firm has apologised, but also defended, an advertising campaign that says its solicitors will use “legal loopholes” to get speeding motorists off the hook. The controversial cartoon ad for My brief Solicitors based in Chatham Dockyard, has angered the Kent and Medway Safety Camera Partnership. It has run in local newspapers in Kent and features a florist’s lorry from a company called Ian O’Scent being flashed by a roadside speed camera, and the driver getting a summons. A tip from the driver’s wife to call My brief Solicitors leads to a solicitor telling the driver: “Don’t worry – let’s see if there are any legal loopholes, and if not, I’ll try to get you the best possible outcome” The final cartoon frame shows the delighted driver and the lawyer outside Court with the speeder declaring “thanks! What an excellent result!” But the ad is “irresponsible” said the organisation that runs the speed cameras in the County, adding that it is “outraged”. Partnership spokeswoman Katherine Barrett said: “By adopting a cartoon strip approach it trivialises the issue of speeding and road satiety. “By suggesting that legal loopholes can be exploited to help motorists who are genuinely guilty of speeding to “get away with it” is also rather distasteful. This simplistic and approach to road safety ignores the fact speeding is a major contributor to accidents and personal injuries and deaths on the roads of Kent and Medway. “The advert also portrays the driver as an innocent party, when in fact he has broken the law by driving too fast”. Ms Barrett said some 30,000 speeding tickets were issued to motorists across Kent and Medway in 2009, but despite this drivers are slowing down. The Partnership said it has seen a 63 per cent reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured across its yellow fixed safety camera sites and safety camera can sites since they were introduced. Ms Barrett added:”That’s 324 casualties that have been prevented. This is excellent news, but irresponsible adverts like this one only serve to undermine our attempts to encourage motorists that excessive speed is a killer”. Jeremy Betts runs the company, which says on its website “we can vigorously investigate your case and see if the police have complied with the letter of the law”. Conviction He has 15 years experience in criminal law, and told Kos Media “we apologise if our advert has caused offence. It was not our intention in running the campaign to upset any members of the public. “We realise the valuable work that the Kent and Medway Safety Camera Partnership undertake and do not in any way condone those motorists which clearly flout the law. “The amount of convictions which are successful is a testament to the correct procedures which often take place. “However, it is everybody’s right to ensure the evidence the prosecution put forward is sufficient to secure a conviction. “In adopting the cartoon it was made clear that we do not only seek to ensure the prosecution have undertaken the necessary procedures, but also if the motorist is guilty we will still act on their behalf. “The majority of motorists who are caught speeding normally lead law-abiding lives and are often very concerned when they receive a summons from the police. We try and reassure such people and assist them to get through this difficult time. “Unfortunately, there have been occasions, where speeding equipment has proved to be faulty and motorists have been wrongly flashed even though they had been travelling under the limit. “We have had positive feedback from some readers regarding our cartoon and our campaign has been running since mid December 2009. We are in the process of reviewing our marketing and will take in to account the views which some members of the public have expressed. We apologise for any offence caused”.