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Dublin: 8 °C Monday 24 November, 2014

High Court ruling may result in the dismissal of many speeding cases

Justice Kearns said it is ‘insufficient’ for the gardaí to state that it is ‘normal or usually the case’ that the photographic record is included with the summons.

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A HIGH COURT ruling made today could have ramifications for future speeding cases.

The President of the High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns made his ruling today that the gardaí should have provided a man, who was summonsed for speeding in  80km/hr zone, with a photograph taken of his car on the day of the alleged offence before he was brought before the District Court.

The case was taken by Michael Gilvarry from Killalla, County Mayo.

He was summonsed for allegedly doing 93km/hr in a 80km/hr zone on 30 October 2011.

Photo image

In his judgement, Justice Kearns states that “it is clear that the “usual practice” for proceeding in cases of this nature is one whereby an image of the speeding detection is attached to the summons when the same is forwarded to the relevant District Officer for service”.

While he said that it was confirmed by a garda inspector that an image was forwarded with each summons in each and every case to the District Office, the inspector “could not go further to state that the photographic image was actually served on the accused along with the summons in each case”.

Justice Kearns said that in his view, it is “insufficient” for a member of the gardaí “to state that it is normal or usually the case that the photographic or documentary record is included with the summons when it is issued. There must be evidence that it has in fact been given to an accused person before the trial commences”.

Shortfall

He said that the evidential shortfall can be “easily remedied” if the statutory declaration of service of the summons were to also state that the summons, together with “permanent visual record attached”, have been served on the defendant prior to trial.

This is the simple answer to a simple question. In the absence of such evidence, the answer to the first question must be in the negative.

The judge dismissed two other grounds under which Gilvarry brought his challenge, one of which was that the photograph which is taken by the Go Safe vans is tainted by virtue of it being enhanced after it is downloaded from the server.

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