Judge Patrick Durcan made the comment at Ennis District Court as he adjourned all Go Safe-connected prosecutions before him. He raised concerns over the evidential basis of photographs taken by the vans’ cameras of alleged speeding motorists.
The judge adjourned the cases to May 2, placing a large question mark over any Go Safe prosecutions proceeding in the Clare district over the next six weeks.
In court yesterday, seven staff from the private, Go Safe firm were in attendance in connection with the prosecution of 11 separate, alleged, speeding motorists.
In three of the cases, the State did not proceed with evidence resulting in Judge Durcan striking off those summons.
In the first case to be heard, Go Safe official, Paul Bennett, gave evidence of Margaret Barnet, of 4, The Green, Killaloe, speeding at 66km/h in a 50km/h zone at Sixmilebridge on September 2, 2013.
Inspector John O’Sullivan of Ennis Garda Station said that as a result of the information downloaded, a fixed-charge penalty was issued and that has remained unpaid.
Ms Barnett told the court she tried to pay the notice.
Cross-examining, Judge Durcan asked Mr Bennett: “What were you doing in the van?”
He replied: “What we do is go to a location for a set number of hours and monitor the speed of motorists.”
The judge said: “Are you observing or is the machine continuously recording?”
Mr Bennett said the camera machine is continuously recording.
Judge Durcan told Insp O’Sullivan that the Go Safe ‘man in the van’, Paul Bennett “doesn’t know what vehicle went by”.
The judge said: “The only evidence is that Mr Bennett was operating the speed camera.
He said: “I would like to thank Mr Bennett for clarifying what the man in the van does. It has long been shrouded in mystery and many people wondered what the man in the van does and people wondered if they spend their time reading the Beano or the Dandy.”
Insp O’Sullivan said that he would have Insp John McDonald of the Garda Fixed Charge processing unit in Thurles give evidence on the adjourned date on May 2 next.