An Adelaide man has lost a Supreme Court bid to get out of a speeding ticket by claiming that his car had “bigger-than-standard tyres and rims” which impacted the speedometer.
In March 2019, David Scylla was caught speeding at 68 kph in a 60 zone on The Grove Way, at Golden Grove, by a speed camera.
He elected to be prosecuted and pleaded guilty to the traffic offence in August 2020, but asked Magistrate Derek Sprod if he could keep two demerit points.
Magistrate Sprod refused, docking him of the points, before Scylla appealed that decision to the South Australian Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court was told that between December 2016 and August 2020, Scylla had elected for 12 speeding offences to go to court – and in 10 of those cases, he had successfully argued to have his demerit point loss reduced.
Scylla told the court that his car – a Mitsubishi Magna – was originally fitted with 15-inch rims, but he replaced them with 16-inch rims and a “higher profile tyre” about six months after purchasing it in 2014 or 2015.
Driver claimed rim size impacted speedo
“He opined that that change meant that the car was, from then on, travelling faster than the speedometer indicated,” Supreme Court Justice David Peek said.
He said Mr Scylla tendered photographs comparing tyre sizes, along with printouts of information he had found on the internet, during his case in the Magistrates Court.
“He said that he had performed some ad hoc testing, using different rims and tyres and one or more GPS devices of unproven accuracy,” Justice Peek said.
Justice Peek said the Magistrate rejected Mr Scylla’s application on the grounds he was not “appropriately qualified to give expert advice”.
During his appeal, Mr Scylla told the Supreme Court that he put “new rims on from a factory”.
“I put factory alloys so I can get better tyres, and that threw out the speedo a bit, and I said ‘OK, I was speeding’, like, you know, you can see here one wheel is quite a lot larger than the other,” he told the court.
Mr Scylla told the Supreme Court that Magistrate Sprod stated that was “not evidence”.
“I run the wheel on the left, that makes the speedo – he said it’s not evidence, [but] I said Pythagoras and physics, a small circle spins faster than a big circle, what evidence do I need, it’s mathematics,” Mr Scylla told the court.
“I don’t have evidence that Amelia Earhart is dead, but I just presume we all know she is, you know what I mean?
“I didn’t get it off the internet, I’m not some jerk that gets everything off the internet, it’s physics, big circles and small circles.”
Justice Peek asked Mr Scylla why he did not come to court with an expert witness that could give evidence about the tyre and rim sizes.
He responded: “I’m not going to pay eight grand (sic) for an expert to come.
“I’ve got a long driving record of not running over anyone or cutting people off – I’m actually a courteous driver.
“My record indicates I do sit above the speed a fair bit now and again and get busted for it. But there’s so much bad driving out there that doesn’t get picked up. I’m a good driver.”
Scylla asked the court to ‘cut me a break’
He asked the court to “cut me a break as a blue-collar guy not on welfare”.
“I’m not some crackpot in town intimidating people … I’m a guy that drives around in a V6 aerodynamic car, I pop over the speed limit now and again, granted,” he said.
“I actually consider myself a bit of a Steve McQueen when I’m going in the hills if the road is open, but I drive safely.”
But Justice Peek found the speeding offence was “of an ordinary type and not atypical”.
“The offence was not of a trifling nature … and there is no proper cause to reduce Scylla’s demerit points for the subject offence,” he found.