Friday 18 October 2019

Majority of summons blunders not yet corrected

(stock photo)
(stock photo)
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The vast majority of motorists who were incorrectly penalised due to Garda summonsing blunders have yet to have their convictions overturned.

Two-and-a-half-years ago, an internal Garda review revealed 146,865 summonses were issued between January 2006 and May 2016 resulting in people being brought before the courts incorrectly. Of those summonsed, some 12,074 cases resulted in a penalty being imposed by the courts.

At the time the blunder was revealed, gardaí pledged to appeal on behalf of the motorists affected so the convictions could be overturned.

But a report by the Comptroller & Auditor General revealed just 2,354 cases - around a fifth of the total - have been successfully appealed to date.

According to the report, there were inadequate safeguards on the Garda Pulse system to prohibit the issuing of a summons for a fixed-charge offence prior to a fixed-charge notice being issued.

This meant motorists received summonses to appear in court before they had a chance to pay their fines.

The report said 12,074 letters had been issued with consent forms which would allow gardaí to appeal the convictions.

However, 1,161 of the letters could not be delivered. Consent forms were filled out by 4,423 people, but responses are still awaited from 5,999 of those affected.

The likely cost of the débâcle was not speculated on in the report. So far, printing and postage costs alone have amounted to around €130,000.

Irish Independent

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