Monday 18 December 2017

Motorists in fatal accidents had earlier offences quashed, committee is told

Chair of the Public Accounts Committee John McGuinness
Chair of the Public Accounts Committee John McGuinness

Shane Phelan Public Affairs Editor

THE garda whistleblower due to give evidence at a Dail committee next week has claimed several motorists who had penalty points notices cancelled were later involved in fatal accidents.

The claim is contained in a document passed to the Dail's Public Accounts Committee by Sgt Maurice McCabe, one of two garda whistleblowers who have raised serious concerns about the operation of the penalty points system.

The document provides an itemised list of cases and was redacted to remove the names of the people involved before it was circulated to committee members.

In it, the whistleblower claims:

* A motorist involved in a fatal hit and run had previously been caught speeding at 135kph in a 100kph zone, but the penalty was terminated by a garda inspector.

* A driver who lost control of his car, killing a female passenger, had previously had a 120kph speeding ticket cancelled.

* A man arrested over the death of another motorist in a collision had two months earlier had a case terminated where he was caught driving the wrong way down a one-way street.

* A motorist who died in a crash had six months earlier had a notice for driving without reasonable consideration quashed.

* A motorist involved in a head-on collision in which another driver was killed had three months earlier had a speeding detection of 155kph terminated by a garda superintendent.

* A driver killed in a traffic collision had months previously had a speeding detection terminated for driving at 82kph in a 50kph zone.

The document also lists instances where motorists involved in fatal accidents were later hit with fixed penalty notices for other incidents, only to be let off.

Alleged cases highlighted include a motorist who reversed without looking and killed an elderly pedestrian.

Six weeks later, he had a 109kph speeding detection in an 80kph zone, which was quashed by a garda inspector, the whistleblower claims. The document also listed the case of a motorist who allegedly knocked down and killed a pedestrian and six months later had a speeding detection cancelled by a garda inspector.

The cases highlighted are likely to form part of Sgt McCabe's evidence to the committee on Thursday.

A previous whistleblower claim that a motorist was involved in a fatal accident after his penalty points were quashed by a senior garda was refuted by gardai in December 2012.

Officers said they had investigated the claim and established that the motorist was not directly involved in the accident, but was being called as a witness in an investigation into the road death.

Irish Independent

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