Police attempt to prosecute driver with false arm over mobile phone use

Russell Cameron

Russell Cameron, 31, has been hauled before the courts five times after police claim he was using his mobile phone behind the wheel despite requiring a prosthetic arm.
Police pulled Mr Cameron over in Greenock, Scotland, in March last year after they reportedly saw him using his thumb to operate the sat-nav on his phone.

But dad-of-five Mr Cameron was born without a right forearm so uses a prosthetic limb while driving. In court, his lawyer argued time and again that his right hand didn't move or grip and couldn't be used to work a phone.

An angry Mr Cameron told The Daily Record: "It's a disgrace it went on so long – it's a farce.

"I'm quite disturbed that the two officers shared the same apparition that landed me in court. It stinks."

Mr Cameron was handed a £60 penalty at the time of the incident, which would also mean three points on his driving licence.

He decided not to make police aware of his prosthetic limb at the time, telling the Daily Record: "If they were accusing me when I was totally innocent, I wanted to know exactly what they thought they saw.

"I didn't want to give them a chance to see it was impossible to use my right hand, then change the story to suit the charge and say it was my left.

"I had to hire a lawyer, who said it would never get to trial, given the stupidity of it."

Despite Mr Cameron producing a certificate from his GP about his false arm, the case continued through a series of pre-trial hearings. Mr Cameron's lawyer was astonished when prosecutors wanted to press on with the case, stating that the policemen's statements were so strong they felt the case needed to be heard.

During the hearing at Greenock Justice of the Peace Court, PC Colin Taylor insisted he saw Mr Cameron used his right arm to operate the phone.

Ronnie Simpson, representing Mr Cameron, then instructed his client to roll up the sleeve of his shirt and reveal his plastic limb.

"You should have seen the policeman's face," Mr Cameron said.

"He tried to stick to his guns but I'd like to see him use his phone with my artificial hand. I doubt he'd have much joy."

The second officer, PC Lewis Goldbourn, couldn't confirm whether he had seen Mr Cameron use his right or left hand, despite the allegation being specific.

The case was eventually thrown out but Mr Cameron wasn't in the mood to celebrate.

"I've been docked £400 wages because of this and it's cost me £400 in legal fees, which is a big deal when you have five kids.

"I don't know if the police are under too much pressure with targets for catching people doing this sort of thing, or whether their eyesight needs testing.

"I hate to think there are lots of people who may be getting stitched up because they can't fall back on such a strong defence. If the police stick to their story you're in a tough spot."
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