Businessman found not guilty of installing laser jammer device on sports car

NOT GUILTY: Eric Craggs

NOT GUILTY: Eric Craggs

First published in News

A WEALTHY businessman accused of perverting the course of justice by using a 'laser jammer' device in his car to avoid speed enforcement traps has been found not guilty by a jury.

Eric Craggs claimed he was unaware that the device had been fitted to his Aston Martin following a garage service and told Teesside Crown Court that he had only requested equipment to alert him of speed cameras ahead.

His defence team had also attempted to argue that no crime had been committed and therefore he could not be guilty of the charge.

The court had heard how a Cleveland police officer, PC Lorraine Williams, had twice attempted to register the speed of Mr Craggs' vehicle on separate occasions when it was being driven in Central Avenue, Billingham.

However both times her speed gun failed to work and displayed an 'error' message. The officer became suspicious when a rectangle shaped object was seen attached to the front number plate of the 68-year-old's car and it was eventually seized by police.

Mr Craggs, of Junction Road, Norton Stockton, was asked about an invoice he received for the equipment fitted to his car.

He said in his evidence to the court: “It doesn't say "laser jamming system", it doesn't say "this is illegal”.

“I had no intention of that [a jamming device] being fitted whatsoever.”

The smartly dressed defendant, who made his fortune in personalised number plates, nodded in acknowledgement to members of the jury as they left court and thanked them for the verdict.

He was embraced by his tearful partner on leaving the dock, but declined an opportunity to comment to waiting reporters.

Addressing the issue of costs, Recorder William Lowe said he believed it would be wrong, having heard all of the evidence, to infer that Mr Craggs' had brought the prosecution on himself.

He said he was prepared to award Mr Craggs' his fixed costs from the case, although further enquiries needed to be made.

Had the jury returned a guilty verdict he would have been one of the first motorists in the country to be convicted after a trial for such an offence.

A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said it had accepted the decision of the court.

Comments (9)

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9:17pm Thu 15 May 14

Robert_ says...

Ha! Brilliant. You just know that the 17 year old driving a Saxo using the old 'I didn't even know it was there' excuse would have got a massive penalty. Money talks. Well played old fella with the posh car.

Sleep well x
Ha! Brilliant. You just know that the 17 year old driving a Saxo using the old 'I didn't even know it was there' excuse would have got a massive penalty. Money talks. Well played old fella with the posh car. Sleep well x Robert_
  • Score: 23

9:19pm Thu 15 May 14

studio says...

Wealthy man gets off…. Thats a surprise.

Smartly dressed defendant…. If you like the Bugsy Malone look.

Made his money in number plates…. The irony.

I have no words ( apart from the 25 above )
Wealthy man gets off…. Thats a surprise. Smartly dressed defendant…. If you like the Bugsy Malone look. Made his money in number plates…. The irony. I have no words ( apart from the 25 above ) studio
  • Score: 25

10:46pm Thu 15 May 14

behonest says...

Well done mate. This is one tax avoidance scheme that I have sympathy with!
Well done mate. This is one tax avoidance scheme that I have sympathy with! behonest
  • Score: 1

11:37pm Thu 15 May 14

Robert_ says...

Do you need a driver? Experienced civic servant looking for a job.... :-)
Do you need a driver? Experienced civic servant looking for a job.... :-) Robert_
  • Score: 1

8:44am Fri 16 May 14

Triglet says...

Twice PC Lorraine Williams tried to nab him on separate occasions(and failed), Surely she must be up for promotion for Traffic enforcement officer.
Twice PC Lorraine Williams tried to nab him on separate occasions(and failed), Surely she must be up for promotion for Traffic enforcement officer. Triglet
  • Score: -6

10:45am Fri 16 May 14

ENowthen says...

Money talks indeed. So you can do illegal things if you aren't aware. Pull the other one. A lad found with crack in his pocket can say the same can he?
Money talks indeed. So you can do illegal things if you aren't aware. Pull the other one. A lad found with crack in his pocket can say the same can he? ENowthen
  • Score: 9

11:24am Fri 16 May 14

MartinMo says...

So is a small bag of crack does not declare on the package it's intended purpose of use or the fact it's illegal then you can get away scott free if caught in possesion.

Still well done though old timer, taxpayers money being wasted on officers of the law tryig to enforce speed restrictions just because they have nothing better to do.
So is a small bag of crack does not declare on the package it's intended purpose of use or the fact it's illegal then you can get away scott free if caught in possesion. Still well done though old timer, taxpayers money being wasted on officers of the law tryig to enforce speed restrictions just because they have nothing better to do. MartinMo
  • Score: -3

6:44pm Sat 17 May 14

pensioner2 says...

What kind of jury was that? Not Guilty?- they are having a laugh! if you have no intention of speeding why would you need a radar detector in the first place let alone 2 of them (one of which turned out to be a jammer and of course being in the motor trade he would have no idea about them would he) Perhaps the police should have gone after the garage who fitted it, if its illegal to have one fitted to your car then surely it must be illegal for a garage- knowing what they are and what they do- to fit them in the first place? I trust the offending device has now been removed because he won't be able to use the same excuse next time he is caught and claim his "ignorance". Even worse is that tax payers will now be faced with paying HIS COSTS due to HIS CLAIMED IGNORANCE on the useage of this device or even the installation of it- yet i have NEVER KNOWN ANY GARAGE to fit something that it was not asked to fit, i've known them NOT to fit things they have said they have (and charged for) but never the other way round- until now. I always thought that ignorance of an offence was not an excuse in the eyes of the law. Guilty as charged in my book. Lucky lucky man, money talks, perhaps all the jury members will get to have a ride in his fast speed camera blocking sports jobby, its the least they deserve.
What kind of jury was that? Not Guilty?- they are having a laugh! if you have no intention of speeding why would you need a radar detector in the first place let alone 2 of them (one of which turned out to be a jammer and of course being in the motor trade he would have no idea about them would he) Perhaps the police should have gone after the garage who fitted it, if its illegal to have one fitted to your car then surely it must be illegal for a garage- knowing what they are and what they do- to fit them in the first place? I trust the offending device has now been removed because he won't be able to use the same excuse next time he is caught and claim his "ignorance". Even worse is that tax payers will now be faced with paying HIS COSTS due to HIS CLAIMED IGNORANCE on the useage of this device or even the installation of it- yet i have NEVER KNOWN ANY GARAGE to fit something that it was not asked to fit, i've known them NOT to fit things they have said they have (and charged for) but never the other way round- until now. I always thought that ignorance of an offence was not an excuse in the eyes of the law. Guilty as charged in my book. Lucky lucky man, money talks, perhaps all the jury members will get to have a ride in his fast speed camera blocking sports jobby, its the least they deserve. pensioner2
  • Score: 0

9:00pm Sat 17 May 14

Robert_ says...

But he didn't even know it was there. Show some sympathy to the poor old rich person in his Aston Martin.
But he didn't even know it was there. Show some sympathy to the poor old rich person in his Aston Martin. Robert_
  • Score: 1

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