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Friday 19 September 2014

Motorists may have been wrongly fined by private speed detectors

Published 01/04/2014 | 23:22

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Motorists may have been wrongly fined by private speed detectors

A NUMBER of Irish motorists around the country may have been wrongly fined by private speed detectors.

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The Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has ordered a report into Ireland's privately run speed detection operation, after a number of allegations emerged.

A report on RTÉ's Prime Time programme revealed testimony by a whistleblower regarding the speeding offences.

The whistleblower revealed that a number of motorists were wrongly fined after he warned management in his company that he had experienced difficulties in 2012 setting up his detection equipment, as it was damaged.

“I had concerns about it,” the whistleblower said. “You can't stand over that evidence. But I was told to leave the system running.”

The former GoSafe employee revealed that he had only discovered that the infringements, which happened when he had difficulties with his equipment, had been processed by the company when he was called to appear as a witness in a speeding case against one of the motorists detected in November 2013.

The worker, who is a former member of the Defence Forces, told Prime Time that he had asked that all the motorists affected during the flawed detections be contacted and offered redress.

However, he alleges that he was told only a small number of fines were issued as a result of those faulty detection sessions and that these would stand.

In a statement, a spokesperson for An Garda Siochana said that GoSafe had given it a full report on the incident.

Over 30 motorists detected to be speeding by the faulty equipment used by the whistleblower avoided penalties according to GoSafe.

According to the company this could have happened 'for a variety of reasons, for example the registration plate may not be readable, or the vehicle may be registered in another jurisdiction.'

However, the company did not refund fines or erase the points for the drivers who were fined as a result of the detections using the faulty equipment, “as the setup issue would have resulted in a maximum deviation of 2 km/h, and the detected speeds, taking into account this deviation, were above the limit”, GoSafe confirmed to An Garda Siochana.

Despite this statement, the whistleblower told Prime Time that there is no way of knowing just how far off his radar camera was on the day.

Last night's Prime Time report included a number of internal company communications, which revealed ongoing issues with set-up equipment in at least one GoSafe depot in 2012 what might have affected speed detections. It is not clear how many, if any, other speeding offences were wrongly processed.

The GoSafe contract costs the Irish state approximately €1.4 million a month.

The Department of Justice said that, 'Following examination of the report, further information was sought to enable the Minister to respond fully.”

“In addition at the request of the Minister further information from An Garda Síochána was sought in relation to certain media reports arising from court proceedings,” they added. “These matters continue to be pursued with the new Garda Commissioner.”

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