High Court to rule on Devins speeding case

The High Court has been asked to rule whether gardaí must provide a photograph of a car when they summons its driver to the District Court for speeding.

In a case which will affect a large number of similar speeding offences, The President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, said he hope to give his decision by the end of the month.

District Judge Mary Devins asked the High Court to decide whether the law requires a driver to be served with photographic evidence when the summons is also being served.

Judge Devins also wants the High Court to decide whether the District Court should first be supplied with a copy of the contract between the Minister for Justice and a private company under which part of the speed detector van operations were outsourced by the State.

She wants a ruling on whether it is sufficient that evidence be given of the existence of that contract between the Minister and the “Go Safe” company, which operates speed vans, or that a full copy of it should be handed into court.

She has further asked the High Court to decide whether the court should consider whether a photographic image of the alleged speeding vehicle could have been tarnished by virtue of computerised enhancement process to identify number plates.

The case arises out of a speeding summons brought against Michael Gilvarry, Ratheen, Killalla, Co Mayo, when a Go Safe van recorded him allegedly doing 93km in an 80km per hour zone in Ballina on October 30, 2011.

Paul McGarry SC, for Mr Gilvarry, said arising out of submissions made to Judge Devins, she had agreed to state a case to the High Court on the three questions.

Paul Anthony McDermott BL, for the DPP, said the requirement that photographic evidence be provided in advance of the trial was simply a normal pre-trial disclosure order. It was open to the defendant to seek an adjournment so he could be supplied with the photo, but it was not sought in this case. It was also open to Mr Gilvarry to say he had never got a photo of his car, but he had not done so.

Mr McDermott said it was not a necessary ingredient to prove speeding that the prosecution must show the existence of the Go Safe/Department of Justice contract, while the enhancement of the photograph was merely blowing it up in size to show the cars ’registration number.


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