Courts Service 'not to blame for penalty points loophole'

The Irish Courts Service has today defended its role in the recent loophole discovered in the penalty points system.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) today claimed that court clerks are not recording some drivers licence numbers and sending them to the RSA because there is currently no legal requirement for the clerks to do this.

In a statement issued today, the Courts Service said: "The matter of the processing of data in relation to penalty points is one which operates very smoothly via electronic media between an Garda Síochána, the Courts Service and the Department of Transport.

"In relation to the recording of drivers license numbers, our staff can and do undertake this as required by law, and where able. However, they can only do this when a license is produced. The need to bring a license to court is outlined on the summons issued by us to each defendant.

"The matter of following up such an offence is not a matter for the Courts Service - which does not have an investigating or policing role."

The Courts Service went on to demand the speedy introduction of a law compelling those accused of traffic offenses to produce their licences at court.

"The law at the moment does require people to produce their license but does not give any authority to the Courts Service or its court officials to demand its production," continued the statement.

"We are aware of proposals to amend the law and await any new legislation to change this situation.

"It is a slur on the integrity of our dedicated and able staff to suggest or state that they 'are not bothering' to collect this information, as was stated in one newspaper today - a statement which ignores the impediment in law as outlined in the same article."

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