GoSafe hearings a ’waste of money’

A judge yesterday told a group of speed camera van staff it would be a total waste of time and public money for them to return to the district court until a High Court challenge to the system is ruled upon.

At Ennis District Court yesterday, 18 motorists answered speeding summons from Inspector John McDonald on behalf of the Garda Fixed Charge Processing Unit.

The unit processes speeding prosecutions from detections made by the 50 or so speed camera vans operated by the privately owned GoSafe consortium.

Judge Patrick Durcan has been a staunch critic of prosecutions brought by GoSafe and yesterday adjourned 17 of the GoSafe-connected prosecutions, with the 18th struck out by the gardaí.

Explaining why, Judge Durcan said: “The law regarding fixed penalty notice is the subject of some controversy across the land. A colleague of mine has sent a case to the High Court to have the law clarified and it will examine if the law underpinning these cases is sound.”

He added: “I am unhappy about dealing with any cases until it is clarified. It may very well be that the High Court will find that the point is balderdash and that everyone will have to face the music, but at the same time, the High Court may find that there is a technical point and that all these summons will have to go.”

Adjourning all cases to September 19, Judge Durcan addressed the five GoSafe speed camera van staff present. He said: “You might convey to Inspector McDonald that it is a total waste of time and public money you guys turning up here until after September 19th. Any prosecutions before then will be adjourned.”

With the men leaving their seats to exit the courtroom, Judge Durcan said: “I don’t like to see State money wasted seeing five strapping men sit here all day.”

Judge Durcan told one motorist facing a GoSafe prosecution, John Corkery of Stoneview Boreen, Terrett, Old Church Rd, Passage West, Cork, his case had been adjourned but that “you will get brownie points ultimately for the fact that you were here today”.

Mr Corkery raised laughter when he asked: “Which points?”

Judge Durcan said: “Brownie points, a different category of points to the one concerned with here.”

Mr Corkery replied: “We have those in Cork as well.”

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