herald

Sunday 4 December 2016

First drivers prosecuted for not producing licences in court

Courts

The 21 drivers - mostly men - were summonsed to appear in Dublin District Court yesterday
The 21 drivers - mostly men - were summonsed to appear in Dublin District Court yesterday

The first motorists have been prosecuted for allegedly failing to bring their licences to court to have penalty points registered.

The 21 drivers - mostly men - were summonsed to appear in Dublin District Court yesterday.

Judge Marie Keane asked the prosecution to clarify legal issues and adjourned the cases.

The alleged offence is under Section 22 of the Road Traffic Act, 2002.

It states that the accused motorists failed to appear in court to produce their driving licences or learner permits while they were alleged to have committed offences under the Act.

The original offences alleged included speeding and holding a mobile phone while driving.

Sergeant Brendan Heneghan of the Garda Traffic Department at Dublin Castle said the cases had been brought before the court following requests by the Ministers for Justice and Transport.

The 2002 Act had been updated in 2010, he said.

He told Judge Keane "clarity" was being sought in the matter and requested adjournments in all the cases.

One accused man, who was self-employed and had taken the day off work, said he had been "late paying by a day" and was due to have four penalty points put on his licence.

He said he had not contested it and had gone to the office that issued the notice and the points were put on his licence.

"I'm kind of perplexed as to why I'm here in the first place," he said.

Judge Keane told another man that it was "probably very technical" but the State had to be able to prove its case.

"There is a legal point that has to be clarified and I can't deal with it today," she said.

"I believe it would be unsafe to do so."

Another man said: "The garda in question is not here and I had to travel all the way from Balbriggan."

One British man said he had a UK licence and it was the third time he had been in court.

Sgt Heneghan said if it was a UK licence, penalty points would not have been added.

The man's case was also adjourned.

Many of the accused men and women were not legally represented.

They left court after being given the adjournment date.

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