Tuesday 24 April 2018

Man whose car was seized over €13k unpaid M50 toll charges seeks to overturn judgement

Simon Parsons and Michelle Daly holding a letter they received before their car was seized by the Dublin County Sheriff for non payment of Tolls. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Simon Parsons and Michelle Daly holding a letter they received before their car was seized by the Dublin County Sheriff for non payment of Tolls. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Tom Tuite

A Dublin motorist's action to set aside a judgement which found him liable for €13,000 in unpaid M50 toll charges and led to his car being seized will be heard in September, a judge has ordered.

Simon Parsons of New Haven Bay, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin, had been the subject of a Dublin District Court ruling in October 2016 following an action by the National Roads Authority (NRA). His car was also seized as a result of the order.

He was not present to defend that case leading to a judgement in default amounting to €13,208 plus €1,004 in legal costs. However, Parsons claims he does not owe that much.

On Dec. 6, 2016. his Opel Corsa was seized by the Dublin County Sheriff and sold weeks later to cover some of the money sought by the NRA.

The sheriff had thought he would get €5,000 for the car but it was sold for €1,100. The involvement of the sheriff also operated as loss for the NRA, the court also heard.

Thomas Rice BL (instructed by Pierse Fitzgibbon Solicitors) for the NRA told the court that Mr Parsons has a motion to set aside the civil judgement and it could heard in September. The man was not present but his solicitor would be notified, Mr Rice said.

Earlier counsel said he had been furnished with Mr Parsons’s receipts.

At a previous stage, his solicitor Sean Foley read his client’s affidavit into the court record which said Mr Parsons needed his car to bring his partner who suffers from cerebral palsy to medical appointments.

The court heard he suffered from depression and a psychiatric report was furnished to the judge. He was not able to use a computer and he argued that the system discriminated against people with limited ability.

In his affidavit he also argued that the NRA was profiteering by allowing charges to amount to his level. He also claimed that he paid the tolls at a Topaz garage and he had all his receipts for every time he used the M50 which incurs a €3.10 charge.

In response, Mr Rice BL, for the NRA, had asked the judge to note that Parsons had been served with a civil claim notice in July 2016.

He did not respond to the proceedings and important legal documents and voluminous correspondence from the NRA was ignored until after his car was seized in December that year.

Counsel said the NRA has reviewed their footage and can say that Parsons paid for 207 journeys on the M50 but had not paid for 210 trips on the motorway.

Mr Rice had said that 140,000 motorists use the motorway and having a pay-station on it defeated its purpose.

Judge Brennan had said that Parsons had “sat on his hands” until his car was seized.

The psychological report was also based on one meeting with Parsons and there was no IQ score, he has noted. However, Judge Brennan said he was allowing Parsons to produce his documentation to be inspected by the NRA.

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