A RETIRED police chief from Chester who used to authorise prosecutions against speeding motorists has been prosecuted for speeding.

Maurice Townley, 86, accepted he had been behind the wheel of his Audi on Long Lane near his home in Upton just after 11am on April 17 this year.

But he refused to believe he had been travelling at 36mph in a ‘30 zone’ – even though this was the speed the camera clocked him at.

During a trial at Chester Magistrates Court on Monday (September 2) he said the device must have been malfunctioning.

Representing himself, Townley said: “I was taught to drive by Lancashire Constabulary to a very, very high level. I have a clean licence and did not break the law on that occasion.

“When I received a notice of intended prosecution I was extremely surprised. It was contrary to all I’ve been taught.

“I served in Lancashire Constabulary and then Cheshire Constabulary for 30 years. For the last 15 years I held the rank of superintendent or chief superintendent and was responsible among other things for authorising prosecutions.

“I definitely did not exceed the speed limit. I felt it was a malfunction of the camera.”

However, prosecutor Matthew Conway told the court a police technician had checked the camera was working properly less than four months before the speeding incident.

Footage from the camera also shows Townley moving past another car in the outside lane.

Under cross-examination, Mr Conway suggested to the defendant that he was simply so proud of his driving that he could not imagine breaking the law.

“No one is challenging whether you’re a good driver,” the prosecutor said. “You simply can’t believe that you would go over the speed limit, is that right?”

“I didn’t go over the limit,” came Townley’s response. “I’ve not done anything wrong. I’ve been falsely accused.”

He added: “There is only one witness against me in this matter and that witness is the camera. The camera is wrong, mistaken or malfunctioned on that occasion.”

Townley said he had prosecuted cases in magistrates court during his career and claimed the law requires more than one witness to secure a conviction.

“No, it doesn’t,” District Judge John Maxwell told him.

“This is not the opinion of a person; it is technology. It is a machine that has been created and tested, and found to be working, which records the speed of a vehicle. That is not opinion evidence.”

Barely pausing for breath, he added: “I find the case proven. It’s as simple as that.”

Townley, of The Beeches in Upton, was fined £100 for speeding and must also pay £85 court costs and a £30 victim surcharge. He also received three points on his licence.