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Title: Is on board camera footage admissible in court?

Date: 08 May 2014

Question

I saw the review of bike mounted cameras in MCN this week and wondered can the footage from these cameras be relied on in court? I ask because if I had an accident but there was a dispute on whose fault it is, surely this would resolve the matter? Or if the police alleged I was driving dangerously but I had footage to disprove it, then this could be helpful. I am thinking of filming each ride out and keeping the footage for a few weeks.

Haydn Jones, Swansea

Answer

Camera footage is permissible in civil proceedings. There is no requirement to wear something to alert other motorists to the fact you are filming. The court would ultimately be in a position to decide whether or not it is in the interests of justice for the footage to be relied upon. If it showed the events leading up to and including an accident then clearly it would be in the interest of justice for it to be relied upon.

In a claim for compensation following an accident the footage would be disclosed by your solicitor far in advance of a trial. This means that if you have supportive footage, liability may be easy to resolve and your lawyer should be able to settle the matter without the need for a trial. That said in many types of accident, such as filtering, even with footage liability could easily remain an issue – not as to what happened as that would be on film, but as to the apportionment of blame in the circumstances.

Ultimately this means that head cam footage could result in you winning a case and avoiding a lengthy trial.

In criminal proceedings where you are the victim, you are in the hands of the CPS even if you do have supportive footage. Whilst a private prosecution is possible they are expensive and the CPS can take over conduct at any time. I cannot see a problem with keeping footage that may exonerate you of blame if you were wrongly accused of a driving offence.

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