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Driver guilty of seatbelt charge fights State

A MOTORIST caught driving without a seatbelt has told a court that he is challenging the constitutionality of the legislation.

Edward Kershaw, who is in his 40s, claimed it would be unjust for the State to proceed with the summons against him while the legality of the legislation is being challenged.

He also objected to a garda reading out a record of his previous convictions to the court, saying the Garda Commissioner has no statutory authority to keep the records.

Judge Bridget Reilly said that Kershaw was effectively claiming that he could continue to drive without his seatbelt until the Supreme Court reaches a decision, and any potential summonses could not be dealt with until the Supreme Court outcome.

Judge Reilly said Kershaw had not brought a challenge in relation to the summons before the court.

The judge found Kershaw, of The Kingdom, Gallanstown, Cherry Orchard Parade, Ballyfermot, guilty of driving without a seatbelt, and fined him €90.

Garda Thomas Finnerty said he stopped Kershaw at Cedarbrook Walk, Ballyfermot on August 22, 2008. He wasn't wearing a seatbelt, and he was issued with a fixed penalty notice which he never paid.

Kershaw said he is currently challenging the constitutionality of the legislation in the Supreme Court, after a High Court decision went against him.

Garda Finnerty told the court Kershaw has 30 previous convictions, six of which are for driving without a seatbelt.

The defendant told the Dublin District Court that he objected to the record of previous convictions, saying they are incorrect.

The court heard the defendant is unemployed and on Jobseekers' Allowance. Judge Reilly fined Kershaw €90 and set recognisances for an appeal.