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'There is something amiss': Judge criticises recent ruling after striking out 34 road traffic cases

The High Court ruling found that a section of the Road Traffic Act concerning defences to fixed charge notices is unconstitutional.

Image: Shutterstock/All About Space

OVER 30 MOTORISTS suspected of breaking road traffic laws walked free from court yesterday without any sanction after a judge struck out all of their cases.

At Ennis District Court, Judge Patrick Durcan struck out a total of 34 Garda prosecutions against motorists as a result of a recent High Court ruling which found that a section of the Road Traffic Act concerning defences to fixed charge notices is unconstitutional.

Of the 34 cases struck out by Judge Durcan, 21 were prosecutions against motorists summoned to court over not paying their fines for speeding.

If convicted yesterday, the offending motorists would have received five penalty points on their licence for speeding along with whatever fine Judge Durcan would have imposed.

However, all were struck out along with another driver charged with careless driving who also walked out of court without any sanction after Judge Durcan struck out the case.

Of the 34 cases, Judge Durcan also struck out another three cases where drivers were accused of holding a mobile phone while driving.

Before striking out the cases, Judge Durcan took aim at members of the Oireachtas for failing to legislate properly in area of road traffic law.

Judge Durcan stated that after the recent High Court ruling by Ms Justice Úna Ni Raifeartaigh “one is drawn to the inescapable conclusion that these cases are not going to ever emerge into broad daylight again”.

Judge Durcan said that he found it extremely irritating to read critical comments by legislators on the Road Traffic laws “and yet the job of the legislature is to legislate and nothing seems to be done to legislate for the appalling situation that has been created by legislation in this case”.

He stated “let’s get real about this carry on” and stated that “legislators had legislated in a confused fashion without a knowledge of the road traffic laws and without a knowledge of what they are doing”.

Judge Durcan stated that as a result of this failure “it would be a complete derogation of my duty and judicially irresponsible to allow these matters proceed in this case”.

Before striking one of the prosecutions, Judge Durcan told the prosecuting Garda in the case “your time has been completely wasted and your efforts have been wasted by the contradictory legislation and the unconstitutional situation that has been created”.

Later, Judge Durcan noted that no appeal has yet been lodged by the State against the High Court judgement.

He stated: “There is something somewhere amiss.”

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Gordon Deegan

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