Judge James McNulty made the comments at Macroom District Court yesterday as he struck out cases against motorists who had not paid speeding tickets that were issued to them by post. Some of the accused testified they did not pay the fines because they did not receive the fixed-charge penalty notice in the post.
Judge McNulty said in the absence of any evidence that the motorists received the fines, it would be unjust to convict them. “This is an epic waste of the courts’ time and of garda time and resources,” Judge McNulty said during one such case.
“It is a national scandal. The Department of Justice and the Department of Transport don’t seem able to address the need for proving the postage of fixed charge notices,” he said.
He suggested summonses should be served electronically via text or email.
“If a garda can ask you for your name and address, it’s reasonable in this modern age to expect a garda can also ask you for your mobile number or email,” he said.
Drivers who received a fixed-charge notice have 28 days to pay the penalty, or then must pay an increased fine. If this has not been paid within 56 days a summons to appear in court is issued.