Clarity sought on driving licence charges
Published 21/10/2015 | 02:30
It will be next month before there is clarity on whether prosecutions can proceed against motorists for failing to bring their licences to court to have penalty points registered.
The failure to produce a licence in court has always been an offence, punishable by fines of up to €2,000 or three months in prison, but gardaí only began enforcing it in recent months.
However, doubts quickly emerged over whether successful prosecutions could be brought.
When 21 prosecutions came before Dublin District Court last month, the cases were immediately adjourned. Judge Marie Keane asked prosecuting gardai to clarify a legal point, the nature of which was not specified in open court.
The cases are set to return to the court early in November.
The original offences alleged included speeding and holding a mobile phone while driving.
All of the motorists were alleged to have failed to produce their licence in court contrary to section Section 22 of the Road Traffic Act 2002.
Licences are supposed to be produced so details can be taken by court registrars to ensure penalty points are applied.
Sergeant Brendan Heneghan told the court that the 2002 Act had been updated in 2010 and that clarity was being sought in relation to a matter.
A garda crackdown was initiated in June following a request from Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.
The move followed revelations in the Irish Independent that 72pc of motorists convicted of penalty point offences over a 15-month period had managed to avoid having the points registered on their licences by either gardai or the courts. More than 20,000 convicted motorists failed to produce their licences in court between January 2014 and March of this year.