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School secretary given chance after 520 unpaid trips on the M50

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Stock photo: Collins

Stock photo: Collins

Stock photo: Collins

A SCHOOL secretary has been given the chance to avoid hefty fines and conviction for 520 unpaid trips on the M50.

Six motorists were hit with court fines totalling €56,000 after failing to turn up to face charges for repeatedly dodging M50 tolls.

Some 22 motorists had been summonsed to appear at Dublin District Court, and prosecutions against seven of them went ahead.

Six motorists failed to show up but were given hefty fines, ranging between €5,000 and €15,000, in their absence and they were also ordered to pay €350 in prosecution costs.

Meanwhile school secretary Jessica Brewer, from Latchford Close, Clonee, Dublin had the highest number of unpaid tolls of the defendants listed, 520 over a three-year period.

She came to court and wept as she told Judge Anthony Halpin it happened because he was unwell last year and she feared a recorded conviction could jeopardise her career plans.

Like all defendants in the list, she was prosecuted on five sample counts.

After listening to her story, Judge Halpin said: “You can’t get feathers off a frogs back”, adding that she did not have the money.

He ordered her to pay €500 to the motorway operator and a further €100 toward prosecution costs. He adjourned until a date in July, when the case will be struck out with no record if she has paid by then.

The court heard she had paid for 39 trips each costing €3.10 on the motorway but another 520 remained unpaid. She admitted she had been the driver and was responsible but she has since set up a toll tag and is now paying when she uses the motorway. Ownership of her car was recently transferred, the court heard.

A goods vehicle owner, with a history of 250 passages and six payments, was hit with €7,000 in fines.

Another commercial vehicle owner was fined €15,000 for 138 trips and the court noted he not paid tolls despite 414 warning letters.

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