The judge in the court district which contributes the single biggest amount of any to the poor box each year has ruled that ‘cash’ will no longer be accepted in court.
Wads of cash are regularly brought into courts in Killarney, Tralee, and elsewhere in District Number 17. The cash is counted out to the court clerk during court sittings, to fulfil undertakings to the court poor box in lieu of conviction — or in a bid to lessen severity — in the case of minor and first-time offences.
Hundreds of euro are regularly offered in Kerry and in more serious cases up to €2,500 may be volunteered.
So much money is sometimes taken in Killarney especially, a garda is required to remain back after court to accompany court clerks to their cars because of security fears. In 2014, Kerry offenders contributed €883,527, or 40% of the total contributions to the court poor box countrywide.
From now on, people making voluntary contributions in Kerry will have to bring in a cheque or postal order.
Judge James O’Connor told solicitors at Killarney District Court that in 2016, “no money in cash” will be accepted in court for the court poor box. It is unfair on court clerks to have to deal with cash during court sessions, he said.
The judge also announced a crackdown on delays caused by solicitors seeking adjournments for clients.
From now on, solicitors in Kerry courts must apply for specific adjournment dates or they will be refused an adjournment.
The State will have to seek a two-month period to supply papers to accused persons when so-called ‘Gary Doyle’ or disclosure orders are made.
Warrants will also have to be filled out exactly and completely by gardaí who arrive in courts in Kerry, requiring only the necessary signatures, Judge O’Connor said.
He said he was “sick and tired” of gardaí coming into court and not having the warrants completed.
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