Judge Patrick J Moran at Cork Circuit Appeals Court described the developments as “a breakdown in the administration of justice”. He said he had reluctantly allowed the appeals having been put in a very difficult position by the non-appearance of the gardaí.
The judge said the Garda chief superintendent for the area should be informed of what happened in court. He said the Road Safety Authority would be concerned and that it was a very serious matter for citizens.
Some of the gardaí were on leave, while others were on sick leave. When the judge was told that one garda had a bad back he said: “We all have bad backs but we still have to come to work.”
The five drivers who won their appeals have avoided significant driving bans — one year in one case, three years in another, four years in two cases, and six years in one — and also avoided districted court fines.
The extent of the non-appearance of Garda witnesses emerged during the call-over of 15 cases yesterday.
The judge said: “This is unsatisfactory. If charges are brought, the State should be in a position to process them. It is a serious breakdown in the administration of justice if the guards are not available.”
Prosecution solicitor Edward O’Hanlon said he has brought it to the attention of the relevant authorities.