PEOPLE Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett was spared a conviction, fine and penalty points today despite admitting a speeding offence.
He appeared at Dublin District Court after a summons was issued when he failed to pay a fixed penalty notice in connection with a speeding incident.
As a result he was brought to court under Section 47 of the Road Traffic Act accused of breaking a 60kph limit at the Stillorgan Road, in Dublin 4 on July 15 last year.
He faced the possibility of getting four penalty points recorded on his licence and the judge said she was going to give him a €100 fine to be paid within three months or else he would be jailed for a day.
Boyd Barrett admitted the offence but was let off after claiming he did not receive the original fine which was posted to an old address that was on his licence when he was stopped by a garda.
The left-wing TD, a staunch critic of Government cutbacks, got into the witness box and said “guilty” when Judge Clare Leonard asked him how he was pleading.
Traffic Garda Ronan Moore said Boyd Barrett had been driving at “86kph in a 60kph zone”.
The TD had one prior conviction in Galway District Court in December 2008 also for speeding for which he had been fined €150.
Judge Leonard then proceeded to make her order and said “€100 fine, three months to pay, one day in default of payment”.
The outspoken politician, who represented himself, then told Judge Leonard “I am fully accepting responsibility” but then added: “I did not get the original fixed penalty notice”.
Gda Moore explained that at 4.45 pm on July 15 last year he had been operating a speed check point at the Stillorgan Road when Boyd Barrett, who was driving a '04-registered Volkswagen Golf, was stopped.
“He has accepted responsibility, did you take his name and address?” Judge Leonard asked the officer who said Boyd Barrett “gave me his driver's licence and address at scene”.
A fixed penalty notice for speeding was sent to a Killiney address on Boyd Barrett's licence and it “went unpaid”, Gda Moore explained.
The 45-year-old TD for the Dun Laoghaire constituency then had to give evidence and as he was offered the bible to be sworn in he said “I am not a believer” and instead gave the non-religious affirmation..
“The address on my licence is an old address, a flat I used to rent, but I had left it three years ago, I did not receive the fixed penalty notice,” he explained. “Five or six weeks ago I did get the summons notice,” he added.
“In those circumstances, I will strike it out,” Judge Leonard said as she decided to change her order and throw out the case.
Outside court, the TD said: “I better make sure I don't go over the limit again.”