Traffic controller Tony Marsden was caught speeding on the Wide Bay Highway.
Traffic controller Tony Marsden was caught speeding on the Wide Bay Highway.

Traffic controller ‘cops it sweet’ after highway speeding

EVERYONE seemed to come out in front in Gympie Magistrates Court on Tuesday, in the unusual case of a professional traffic controller booked for speeding on the Wide Bay Highway near Woolooga.

Before the court was Chatsworth man Anthony Marsden, who contested his speeding ticket, even while admitting he had been speeding.

Marsden pleaded not guilty to driving at 123km/h on the Wide Bay Highway near Woolooga on March 15.

Police got the day wrong, he said, pleading "not guilty on the day it says." He also claimed to have not been going quite as fast as the prosecution claimed.

After negotiations, he agreed he was guilty of driving at 120km/h on the 100km/h stretch of highway, but maintained his concern about the date, saying a wrong date meant the allegation was not correct.

Police prosecutor Lisa Manns resolved the problem by amending the charge to read "on or about" March 15, instead of "on" March 15.

Marsden then pleaded guilty, but remained concerned that it was too easy for police to rectify an error, compared to the way Queensland Transport applied the law to private sector traffic officials, like him.

Magistrate Graham Hillan told Marsden police were able to amend a charge, as Sgt Manns had done, under a specific provision in the Justices Act.

Marsden, 58, told the court he would "cop it sweet," pleading guilty to driving at 120kmh.

That earned him a total penalty of $365, including $104.50 court costs.

It was a quick and low-cost result for the justice system and police, with no need for a trial, and saved Marsden nearly $80 on the $444 fine he would have been up for if he had paid the ticket fine for a 123km/h offence.

Speaking outside the court, Marsden said he was still concerned that the law was a lot harder on private sector officials in cases of clerical error.

"If I have a bad day and make a mistake I can be fined $3500, If I tick a box wrong, I have to pay a fine," he said.

But the outcome was still worth the struggle, he said, pointing out the lower speed conviction meant a demerit point penalty of three points, rather than four.