The State has been accused of “dodging the bullet” in not releasing a copy of the €80m Garda contract with the Go Safe consortium to the court.
At Ennis District Court, solicitor Daragh Hassett made the charge after hearing that the State was withdrawing a prosecution against a motorist he was representing who was detected speeding by the network of speed camera vans operated under the Go Safe contract.
The Go Safe consortium was paid €17.23m by gardaí last year, with the current contract due to expire in November.
At his court, Judge Patrick Durcan has criticised the prosecutions being made by Go Safe employees and acceded to an application from Mr Hassett that the gardaí made available a copy of the contract in respect of a Go Safe prosecution against one of his clients.
However, Inspector John O’Sullivan said gardaí were withdrawing the Go Safe prosecution against Mr Hassett’s client and as a consequence, Judge Durcan’s order for the release of the contract fell.
Insp O’Sullivan said that if Judge Durcan was to make a similar order in the future, gardaí would be able to open case law opposing the order that wasn’t opened to the court when the judge made his order earlier this year.
In reply, Mr Hassett said: “The State has decided to dodge the bullet and not comply with your order which still stands. I rarely, if ever, disagree with a decision to withdraw a prosecution, but this is completely unfair in the State not complying with the court order.”
Judge Durcan agreed, saying: “Everything flows from the prosecution of your client and it is unfair.”
However, Judge Durcan said that the story in relation to Go Safe “is one that won’t be finalised today”.
A Garda spokeswoman has previously stated the Go Safe consortium does not receive any performance-related payments.
The network of 50 Go Safe vans has netted the State over €20m in speeding penalties and fines over a four-year period.
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