The dismissal of more Go Safe speeding prosecutions in a local district court has led to calls for law in this area to be clarified.
In Newcastle West district court this week, Judge Alan Mitchell dismissed a number of alleged speeding cases after operators of the Go Safe speed detection vans were unable to give him details of the contract between their employer and the Minister for Justice.
As each case was called, the judge asked the speed van operators if they had read or were aware of the contents of the agreement between their company and the Minister for Justice. When they were unable to provide this information to the court, the judge dismissed the case.
This was just the latest in a number of instances in local courts where Go Safe prosecutions have been thrown out because they were deemed legally unsound.
In court last Friday, the judge made reference to emergency legislation was being drawn up to address some of these issues. However, he said the situation remained unclear.
“This still is an outstanding issue. Either they will allow you to see the agreement, which I presume they won’t, or else produce the agreement with the commercially sensitive information redacted,” he told a Go Safe operator who was in court.
The situation was raised in the Oireachtas transport committee last week by Limerick Fine Gael TD Patrick O’Donovan who has called for a review of the operation of the Go Safe vans in light of the large number of failed prosecutions.
“I proposed that this review should include the Departments of Justice and Transport, the Garda Síochána, the operators of the Go Safe vans, together with legal practitioners who will be invited to come before the Committee,” Mr O’Donovan said.
Fianna Fail’s Niall Collins has also expressed concern about the situation. “Unfortunately the Minister and the Department has hidden behind the veil of commercial sensitivity in relation to any discussions of the contract with Go-Safe and at this stage there is a need to be transparent in relation to it,” said Mr Collins.