Ruling could lead to dismissal of speeding summonses

A number of speeding summonses may have to be dismissed after a High Court ruling.

The President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, found gardaí should have provided a man summonsed for speeding with a photograph taken of his car on the day of the alleged offence before he was brought before the district court.

He was giving his ruling in a case taken by Michael Gilvarry, Killalla, Co Mayo, who was summonsed for allegedly doing 93km/h in an 80km/h zone in Ballina on October 30, 2011.

It was argued on his behalf that before he could be convicted, the law required there had to be evidence before the court that he had been served before his trial with a photograph to show it was his car involved in the alleged offence.

Mr Justice Kearns said it was insufficient, when dealing with a mandatory provision (section 81.3) of the 2010 Road Traffic Act, for a garda to simply state it is “normal or usually the case” that a photo is included with the summons.

“There must be evidence that it has in fact been given to an accused person before the trial commences,” he said.

This evidential shortfall can be “easily remedied” if the statutory declaration under which a summons is served on a person were also to state that a “permanent visual record” is attached and been served on a defendant prior to trial, he said.

The case has implications for a number of cases in the West, on hold since Judge Mary Devins referred the matter to the High Court. Legal sources said many of these pending cases could now be dismissed depending on what stage they are at in the system.


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