A judge has said that drivers who are a few kilometres over the speed limit should not be prosecuted. Judge Cormac Dunne made his remarks at Trim District Court today where he was dealing with a number of speeding summonses.
In one case the court heard that a Dundalk man had been clocked driving at 60km per hour in a 50 zone on the Navan-Trim Road in February last year. Striking out the summons, Judge Dunne said that his was a court of law but it was also a court of justice and the particular driver was "only a few kilometres over."
He would ask that some humanity be shown - what is involved here is human frailty, he said. He added that if the driving had taken place in a housing estate it would be a different matter. Judge Dunne asked if local Gardai had an input into the location of speed traps but Sergeant Tom Dunne said the Gardai had no role in this. The Probation of Offenders Act was applied in the case of another driver who had been clocked at 90km in an 80 zone. In another case where a woman had paid a fixed penalty fine but ended up in court because she had not signed the bottom of the form the judge dismissed the summons saying "people are entitled to be prosecuted but not persecuted".
A Limerick woman who was summoned for alleged speeding at 70kph in a 60kph zone had been "shabbily treated" and "shown contempt as a citizen" by a senior Garda officer who had said he was too busy to speak to her when she tried to raise an issue with him, Judge Dunne said at the same court. Angela Dunne, Grangewood, Lisnagry who was clocked at Batterstown, Co Meath said her husband had received a fixed penalty notice but she was driving at the time and she was told to send the notice to Thurles Garda station.
A senior officer there had relayed the message to her that he wasn't available to speak to a member of the public. Judge Dunne said that the officer was a public servant, paid out of the public purse. She said that she had also written to the officer and got no further communication but a year and two months later she received the summons to appear at Trim.
She said she did not take the matter any further because she didn't want to draw the officer's wrath on her. When he heard that Ms Dunne had had to stay overnight in Meath in preparation for the case, the judge said she had been "shabbily treated by the prosecution" and said she should write to the Garda Commissioner about the case.
Judge Dunne said that even though Sergeant Tom Mahon was not involved in any way in the case, he had shown himself to be "a gentleman" for apologising to her on behalf of the force.