Motorists accused of dodging M50 tolls received fines totalling almost €300,000 at Dublin District Court on Monday.
A total of 26 individuals were at the receiving end of fines ranging from €3,000 to €16,000 handed down by Judge John Brennan.
None of the defendants whose cases were dealt with attended their hearings or co-operated with the National Roads Authority (NRA) which Judge Brennan described as an aggravating factor.
All of the prosecutions, except for one case, featured five sample counts of not paying the toll and downloaded images of their vehicles passing the toll were tendered as evidence by NRA officials. They showed the passage of the offending vehicles on the barrier-free motorway on dates from November 2016 until May last year, as well as proof of vehicle ownership.
On top of the fines, which added up to €297,000, each defendant was ordered to pay €750 in prosecution costs.
The judge said the fines must be paid within six months in most cases.
Among those fined were Michael Dickson, from Poppintree Parade, Dublin 11, who faced five sample counts for not paying the toll in April last year. Judge Brennan heard his car had done 432 journeys on the motorway and he had paid 43 times; his last payment was in 2015. He was fined €16,000.
Goods vehicle owner Edward Corcoran from Kishogue Park, Lucan, Dublin was also fined a total of €16,000. The court heard his Class-9 vehicle had done 407 journeys on the M50 without a payment being received.
Some 18 other drivers were each fined €10,000 or more.
Four motorists were fined €9,00 each.
The standard M50 toll for an unregistered private car is €3.10 and must be paid before 8pm the following day or else there is a €3 penalty for having missed the deadline. Motorists have 14 days from the date of issue to pay for the journey and the initial penalty; otherwise a further penalty of €41 is applied. After a further 56 days there is an additional penalty charge of €103 and if it remains unpaid legal proceedings follow with the possibility of a court fine of up to €5,000 as well as a jail term of six-months, or both, per offence.
The registered owner of a vehicle is responsible even if they were not driving the vehicle.