Speed van prosecutions dismissed amid legal concerns

Colm Ward

Reporter:

Colm Ward

A GoSafe speed van operating in Limerick. A number of cases were dismissed this week due to motorists giving evidence that they had not received fine notifications
Ongoing legal difficulties with Go Safe speeding prosecutions were highlighted in Newcastle West district court this week after a number of motorists had cases against them dismissed.

Ongoing legal difficulties with Go Safe speeding prosecutions were highlighted in Newcastle West district court this week after a number of motorists had cases against them dismissed.

In some of these instances, solicitors cited a recent ruling by a judge in Ennis district court that operators of Go Safe speed detection vans did not have the legal authority for them to give evidence on behalf of gardai in relation to these cases.

Several other motorists who were summoned to court on foot of Go Safe detections gave evidence that they had not received fine notifications.

In all these cases, Judge Mary Larkin dismissed the charges.

In one instance, a lady who was allegedly detected travelling at 69kph in a 50kph zone outside Abbeyfeale had her case struck out after solicitor Rossa McMahon referred to the ruling by Judge Patrick Durkan in Ennis district court last month.

In that ruling, Judge Durkan found that Go Safe staff were unable to demonstrate the requisite legal authority for them to give evidence on behalf of gardaí in relation to these cases in court. He also ruled there was no evidence to prove whether or not the fixed charge notices had been paid.

Of 23 motorists who were brought to court in Newcastle West this Tuesday by Go Safe staff, about 10 received fines. The majority of those who were fined did not appear in court and had no legal representation.

This follows a similar situation in the same court last month where 11 drivers had speeding charges struck out on the grounds that they had not been provided with a photograph of their vehicles on the day of the alleged offences.

In those cases, Judge Mary Larkin cited the Gilvarry decision - a recent High Court ruling that found a driver must be provided with such evidence when he/she was being prosecuted for speeding as a result of detection by traffic camera.