Judge Mary Devins has again heavily criticised the Government’s decision to give the GoSafe company responsibility for operating speed cameras and prosecuting offenders.
Judge Devins previously criticised the GoSafe system in court last December
, saying that while the idea might have ‘sounded great’ in Dáil Eireann, it was clearly not effective in court. On Thursday, during a sitting of Westport District Court, Judge Devins hit out at the system again.
After listening to one case, which she later dismissed, Judge Devins referred to the GoSafe speeding campaign as an ‘abject failure’.
Derek Walsh of GoSafe gave evidence where he presented a certificate and a photographic document which he said showed the registered car of Ms Kathy McGreal driving at 119 kilometres per hour in a 100 kilometre an hour zone.
Solicitor Sheila Ryan said the certificate, which was issued by GoSafe to her client, Ms McGreal of Thornbrook, Pontoon Road, Castlebar, was not a certificate at all, saying it could easily have been created using a photocopier. Ms Ryan also pointed out that the certificate was neither signed nor authorised, as required.
Judge Devins said the situation was very unsatisfactory and prosecuting Garda Supt Aidan Foley agreed.
Referring to the photographic document, Ms Ryan said, “You would need remarkably good eyes to know what this meant.” Ms Ryan stated that the two photographic images comprised of one undistinguishable image and a second that resembled ‘a montage.’
Ms McGreal said her client had attempted to pay the fixed penalty notice, but because the vehicle’s registration details had been entered incorrectly in Thurles this was not possible. She stated that when Ms McGreal tried to pay the fine at a post office, they wouldn’t accept her money. She also pointed out that her client had been phoning Thurles so often she was building up a friendship with some of the employees.
Ms Ryan also added that her client had taken a day off work to appear at court at great expense. She concluded, “She’s keeping the economy going, while money is being wasted.”
Judge Devins studied the photographic images and the documents and said, “This GoSafe speeding campaign doesn’t seem to be working.” She then dismissed the case.