Judge raps Garda authorities over ‘embarrassing’ speeding prosecutions
Cases dismissed because of improperly served notices
Prosecutions for speeding do not fall when they are handled by gardaí, the judge said. Photograph: Alan Betson
A judge yesterday described as “embarrassing” and a “charade” the failings in speeding prosecutions being brought before his court as he dismissed all of the cases before him.
Hearing from a number of motorists that they had not received a fixed-charge notice, Judge Patrick Durcan told Killaloe District Court that he would prefer in future if Go Safe speeding cases were not put before him.
He had previously expressed his view that fixed-charge notices should be served by registered post
“I am not going to waste the court’s time with these cases. I would prefer if these cases were not listed before me, because I find it embarrassing,” he said.
He said he had previously expressed his view that fixed-charge notices should be served by registered post: “This view has gone up the line at the gardaí and your authority refused to accept that,” he told a garda.
Failure by authorities
He did not want “to see the administration of justice and the importance of it being diminished any further by this charade” when there is a failure by the authorities to ensure that notices “are properly served”.
He felt “so sorry for hard-working members of the [Garda Traffic Corps] who do their job” who are left down because the Garda authorities “won’t take proper steps”.
Last month, Judge Durcan dismissed nine Go Safe prosecutions, pointing out that seven of the cases did not go ahead because Go Safe officers did not show up, while two more fell because of incomplete evidence.
“At a time when the courts are being criticised for their handling of road traffic matters, it beggars belief that the Government would continue to enter into a contract with a private organisation that clogs up a half page on our court list.”
Prosecutions for speeding do not fall when they are handled by gardaí, the judge said: “The sooner that the Public Accounts Committee and public representatives take an interest in how much this is costing, the better.”