Expert Witness Raps Photo Radar

Article excerpt

Says unit at centre of case defies the law of physics

A case that could see about 20,000 photo-enforcement tickets thrown out was abruptly adjourned late Friday after the Crown asked for more time to review the testimony of an expert witness who said a photo-radar unit defies the law of physics.

"I'm simply telling it as I know it," Ken Sontag said moments after the adjournment.

"I haven't said anything that's outside the laws of physics, so they can consult an expert and bring in their own expert to challenge the laws of physics if they wish."

Sontag, an electrical engineer and chairman of telecommunications company Norscan Instruments, was allowed to testify as a expert witness on Doppler radar in a traffic-court case involving a $200 speeding ticket issued at Grant Avenue and Nathaniel Street.

Sontag told court the radar's beam and its accuracy to measure the speed of passing vehicles is skewed because of electromagnetic interference caused by metal sign posts and light poles on Grant Avenue.

"There are several different combinations that could go wrong," he told court, adding that includes the radar recording either higher or slower speeds.

Sontag, who also worked for Transport Canada, is the latest weapon unleashed by WiseUp Winnipeg in its crusade to get photo enforcement yanked from Winnipeg. WiseUp is also lobbying for longer amber light times.

The controversy over the photo radar unit across from Grant Park High School erupted last fall when dozens of people claimed the camera, which is parked on a service road, wrongly tagged them for speeding. Police have said the photo-radar unit on Grant Avenue records accurate speeds -- which they've verified using other speed-enforcement tools. …