Prominent people speeding!

Troy Buswell, the West Australian Transport Minister was in a bit of bother last week when it transpired he’d committed a string of speeding offences. Amusing – as a Yes, Minister fan I bet he wishes he had a silver badge!

[..]

It has been revealed that since being appointed transport minister, Mr Buswell was fined $75 for speeding up to 9km/h over the speed limit on January 6.

The speeding offence was also his third in less than six months, having been fined for the same offence in September as well as losing two demerit points for speeding 9-19km/h over the speed limit.

[…]

OPPOSITION CALLS FOR BUSWELL TO BE SACKED. (2011, February 20). The West Australian(Perth, WA) Retrieved February 26, 2011, from http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/breaking/8873554/opposition-calls-for-buswell-to-be-sacked/

In 1880, the Hon James Thomas got himself into a similar bit of bother. As the then Director of Public Works, he wasn’t in too dissimilar a position to our Troy – he was even the one responsible for setting the ‘speed limit’ he infringed:

FREMANTLE, August 2.
On Saturday last, the Hon. J. H. Thomas (Director of Public Works) was charged before the Fremantle police magistrate with trotting his horse over the North Fremantle Bridge, contrary to the notice in the Government Gazette.

The evidence of the policeman went to show that he was stationed at the foot of the bridge to caution drivers of vehicles and equestrians to walk their horses over, which he had done to several who crossed the bridge previous to Mr. Thomas; but believing he was thoroughly aware of the notice and acquainted with the importance of its strict observance, he did not think it necessary to repeat the caution to him. He however noticed Mr. Thomas trotting his horse, and accordingly summonsed him. Mr. Thomas explained that his horse became restive and broke into an amble, going down the hill. He urged that, as ambling is not trotting (which could he seen by reference to the dictionary), it could not be proved that he had in any way in- fringed the regulations in passing over the bridge.

The policeman subsequently agreed with the version of the case given by the defendant, and the summons was accordingly dismissed. It appears to me that if a policeman cannot tell when a horse is trotting, he is not a suitable officer to put on duty at the bridge, inasmuch as he will be dragging people before the court unnecessarily, and giving endless trouble into the bargain. In the present case the information against Mr. Thomas was for “trotting.” This was sworn to positively, but subsequently the policeman asserted it was only ambling. Then why did he charge the defendant with trotting ? Surely the presence of the Commissioner did not frighten him to such an extent as to render him oblivious of the nature of the original charge.

Apropos: History repeats’ itself. The’ inventor of the guillotine met with his death at its hands ; there is nothing out of place, therefore, in the Director of Public Works being summonsed for transgressing the rule which he framed. “The engineer hoist with his own petard.”

COUNTRY LETTERS. (1880, August 3). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879-1954), p. 3. Retrieved February 26, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2983494

I’m sure readers of this article, contemporary or modern, would feel some sympathy for the accused escaping his speeding infringement on a technicality!

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