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Judge dismisses Go Safe speeding cases, calling them a 'charade' and 'embarrassing'

“I am not going to waste the court’s time with these cases,” Judge Patrick Durcan said in Killaloe yesterday.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

A JUDGE YESTERDAY described as ‘embarrassing’ and a ‘charade’ the failings around the Go Safe speed van prosecutions being brought before his court.

Dismissing all of the Go Safe speeding cases at Killaloe District Court yesterday after hearing from a number of the motorists didn’t receive the Fixed Charge Penalty Notice from gardaí, Judge Patrick Durcan said that he would prefer in future if Go Safe speeding cases were not put before him.

He said: “I am not going to waste the court’s time with these cases.”

Dismissing all five Go Safe prosecutions before the court, Judge Durcan said:

I would prefer if these cases were not listed before me, because I find it embarrassing.

Addressing the local garda inspector, Judge Durcan said: “I have expressed the view that the Fixed Charge Penalty Notice should be served by registered post and this view has gone up the line at the gardai and your authority refused to accept that.

“That is one reason why matters are as they are. It is embarrassing to all of us.

“I don’t want to see the administration of justice and the importance of it being diminished any further by this charade when there is a failure on the part of your authority to ensure that the Fixed Charge Penalty Notices are properly served.”

He added: “I feel so sorry for hard members of the traffic corps who do their job and because your authorities won’t take proper steps to ensure that fixed charge penalty notices are properly served, it brings the administration of justice into disrepute and diminishes all of us.

I have been making comments like this for over a year and getting nowhere.

Judge Durcan’s comments yesterday follow critical remarks he made on the operation of the Go Safe speed vans at Ennis District Court last month.

After throwing out nine Go Safe prosecutions, Judge Durcan called for the relevant government minister, the Public Accounts Committee, political representatives and the Garda Commissioner to take an interest in how taxpayers’ money is being used.

He said: “It is important that the minister know that in seven of the nine cases, the Go Safe officers were a no-show. The other two cases were dismissed due to incomplete evidence.”

“I don’t know what the cost is to prosecute these cases but, 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.”

At the court, Judge Durcan called on prosecuting Inspector to bring the matter to the attention of the Garda Commissioner, Noirín O’Sullivan.

Addressing the issue of a Go Safe officer giving incomplete evidence in two of the cases, he said, “We do not have this when gardaí are prosecuting speeding cases. This is costing the State a lot of money and the sooner that the Public Accounts Committee and public representatives take an interest in how much this is costing, the better.”

More: Questions, unanswered: Scandals are ‘at best, incompetence and, at worst, deception’

Read: Clare Daly asks Commissioner why she was brought to court over driving offence

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Gordon Deegan

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