Taxi driver to challenge laws requiring drivers to act respectfully

A taxi driver has secured leave from the High Court to challenge his conviction on a public order offence arising from a dispute with another taxi driver.

Jehosh Adekiyesi is challenging the constitutionality of provisions of the Road Traffic Regulations requiring taxi drivers to behave in "a civil, orderly and respectful" manner and section 6 of the Public Order Act after being convicted of both offences at Dublin District Court last May.

The convictions relate to an altercation he had with another taxi driver at Stephen's Green North on March 6 last after one taxi driver was seen by a Garda to have moved to an inside lane and the other taxi in front of it would not move.

The court heard that it appeared to the Gardaí that a fist fight was about to occur.

The District Court heard that while the other party left the scene after calming down. However Mr Adekiyesi was arrested and conveyed to Hardcourt Terrace garda station.

He claims that District Judge Victor Blake, who fined Mr Adekiyesi after finding him guilty, erred in law by convicting him of offences that are bad in law on grounds including that the offences lack precision, clarity, are vague and uncertain.

Mr Adekiyesi of Balcurris Gardens, Ballymun, Dublin 11 secured leave from the High Court Judge Blake, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Ireland and the Attorney General aimed at quashing the convictions he received on May 17 last.

Leave was granted by Mr Justice Michael Peart who made the matter returnable to a date later this month.

In his proceedings Mr Adekiyesi is seeking orders preventing his further trial on the offences.

He is seeking a number of declarations including article 52 of the Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) Regulations which creates the offence of failing to behave in a civil, orderly and respectful manner is unconstitutional and incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

He is also seeking a declaration that the section 6 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order Act) 1994 is unconstitutional and incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

In an affidavit to the court Mr Adekiyesi's solicitor Cahir O'Higgins said that his client was convicted of engaging in threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to provoke a breach of the peace and for failing to behave in a "a civil, orderly and respectful" manner.

Mr O Higgins said that the challenge to the constitutionality of article 52 of the Road Traffic regulations is being brought on grounds including that the article served to criminalise behaviour which was not in any sense criminal.

Further grounds include that the article requires the driver of a public service vehicle to act in a manner that is not capable of definition and open to a multitude of interpretations.

Mr O'Higgins added that to convict a person for an offence under the article was in effect double penalisation and would amount to the convicting an accused person twice for the same act.

Mr O'Higgins adds that the challenge against Section 6 of the Public Order Act is being brought on grounds including that the section offends the rule that criminal offences should be clearly and specifically defined.


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