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Many rural speeding convictions under Section 5 are not valid

  • 15-07-2010 7:55am
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 3,865 langdang


    Don't shoot the messenger, don't do the "crime" if you can't pay the fine and all that but:

    http://www.examiner.ie/ireland/gap-in-law-may-scrap-speeding-convictions-125156.html
    Gap in law may scrap speeding convictions
    By Peter Gleeson
    Thursday, July 15, 2010
    THOUSANDS of Irish motorists who were convicted of speeding offences in villages and rural townlands over the last six years may now be able to have those convictions quashed.

    The situation arises after a successful High Court judicial review case taken by a firm of Limerick solicitors against the DPP which has resulted in a decision by a District Judge to strike out speeding prosecutions brought under Section 5 of the Road Traffic Act 2004.

    Section 5 of the Act governs speed limits in built-up areas, which are clearly defined in the legislation as being areas of cities, towns and boroughs.

    However, a recent test case brought before Nenagh District Court by the Limerick-based firm Hayes Solicitors was withdrawn by the Gardaí at the direction of the DPP following a High Court judicial review.

    Since then, District Judge Mary Martin, who sits in a number of courts in the Tipperary District, has been striking out all cases involving drivers who were prosecuted for exceeding the speeding limit in villages and rural townlands situated on national primary routes and other roads.

    Dr Breda Hayes, solicitor of Hayes Solicitors, Limerick, who brought the judicial review test case in the High Court, said that the DPP had conceded that Section 5 of the Act had not been properly applied.

    She said Section 5 of the Act only applied in cases where drivers were caught speeding in built-up areas. She said a built-up area under the legislation was clearly defined as being an area of a city, town or borough. In the test case taken, it was successfully argued that a townland situated on the main Limerick-Dublin Road was not defined under the law as a built-up area, therefore an essential ingredient of the alleged offence was missing.

    "Many people have been convicted of a non-existent offence over a prolonged period of time and their convictions were unlawful and in breach of their fundamental human rights," said Dr Hayes.

    Dr Hayes confirmed that the number of drivers wrongly convicted is likely to be very substantial over time.

    "The case has far-reaching consequences and major implications for the state particularly in respect of those who have been unlawfully convicted and obtained penalty points," she said.

    She said: "There can be no punishment without law."

    She said that to convict someone of a non-existent offence was a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights and drivers were entitled to seek a remedy and be compensated for being wrongly convicted.

    No matter what changes were made in the law now, those changes could not be applied retrospectively to wrongly convicted drivers.

    Dr Hayes said it was not sufficient for the District Courts to strike out summonses against drivers who had been wrongly prosecuted. Cases had to be withdrawn by the DPP to exonerate them.

    This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Thursday, July 15, 2010


    Read more: http://www.examiner.ie/ireland/gap-in-law-may-scrap-speeding-convictions-125156.html#ixzz0tjebW3J6

    SO - I have points + a fine under Section 5, on the Abbeyfeale to Castleisland road. Definitely not a built up area - you can hear the banjos (maybe I should have used that as an excuse for speeding lol).

    So, technically - would I be entitled to get those points wiped, and be reimbursed for the fine? EDIT : D'oh, just read "can't be applied retrospectively to wrongly convicted drivers"


Comments

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 60,636 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    Just to clarify for people here as the article doesn't say it, Section 5 is the 50km/h speed limit.

    A special 50 limit can be applied outside of built up areas under Section 9 but obviously if a ticket was issued under S5 they can't go change it after the fact.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,865 langdang


    I was definitely not in a 50km/h zone- a lot of people may have been processed under Section 5 but should have been under something else.

    I have the letter here - section 5 even though it was well outside the 60km limit for the town, nevermind the 50km limit


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,374 Saab Ed


    If people were convicted of an offence that now appers not to be an offenece this brings up a lot of questions / problems i.e

    1) Will the State refund those who contest their previous fine that now doesnt stand.

    2) Will insurance companies be forced to refund people who were charged extra because they had points on their licence that they should not have got

    3) Will Joe Public be able to look for compensation from the State because he / she might have been resrticted in their employment oppertunities due to having points on their licence that they should not have had.

    There's probably plenty more but these jump to mind !


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,410 ✭✭✭✭ vectra


    I got caught over 3 years ago doing 75kph in a 50kph (town)
    Whats the story there?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,865 langdang


    vectra wrote: »
    I got caught over 3 years ago doing 75kph in a 50kph (town)
    Whats the story there?
    I'd imagine that conviction is perfectly valid under Section 5


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  • Registered Users Posts: 19,386 ✭✭✭✭ Krusty_Clown


    langdang wrote: »
    D'oh, just read "can't be applied retrospectively to wrongly convicted drivers"
    It actually seems to read like quite the opposite:
    No matter what changes were made in the law now, those changes could not be applied retrospectively to wrongly convicted drivers.
    What they seem to be saying is, if they change the law now, any changes they make cannot be applied to people who have previously been incorrectly convicted.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,865 langdang


    Yes, after a good cup of coffee and a re-read your interpretation makes sense, and means
    a)I should be entitled to have those points wiped
    b) refund of 80euro
    c)I can't be reconvicted under a changed law

    I'm marching on Dermot Ahernes office as we speak!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,374 Saab Ed


    Its a sad reflection though all the same, the fact that we cant even get a bloody simple thing like speeding laws sorted in this country !

    After a previóus thread on here ( and still active today ) where people advocate severe fines and high usage of speed controls , it really doesnt matter because the numptys running the show are a bunch of fu§k ups.

    Speed cameras on the M50 where nobody gets killed and yet we dont have the right laws in place to protect people in areas where there's a very high risk. :confused:


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,240 looder


    Anyone know how you find out what section you were charged under?


    I've 2 from a couple of years back that I got entering a village in Kilkenny. However, it was going from an 80km to a 50km. I think I was doing 68km at the time. What annoyed me at the time was, there was a car in front of my going faster than me (as it was visibly pulling away) but I got pulled over.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,865 langdang


    looder wrote: »
    Anyone know how you find out what section you were charged under?


    I've 2 from a couple of years back that I got entering a village in Kilkenny. However, it was going from an 80km to a 50km. I think I was doing 68km at the time. What annoyed me at the time was, there was a car in front of my going faster than me (as it was visibly pulling away) but I got pulled over.
    Did you not put the letter on file in the filing keyabinet?;)
    The letter I got notifying me of the fine, with the reference number etc, said "under Section 5 we have wrongly convicted you". Well, I'm paraphrasing slightly there....


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  • Registered Users Posts: 15,410 ✭✭✭✭ vectra


    langdang wrote: »
    I'd imagine that conviction is perfectly valid under Section 5

    I dont understand this
    is it the section5 is wrong?
    is it the townland??

    I am lost :o


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,865 langdang


    vectra wrote: »
    I dont understand this
    is it the section5 is wrong?
    is it the townland??

    I am lost :o
    It appears they have applied Section 5 (built up areas, 50kmph) in areas that are clearly not built up. eg in my case the relatively superb road over the banjo-plucking-hills that is the abbeyfeale to castleisland road.

    You were done for speeding in 50k zone, which is apparently the only correct application of Section 5! Not that it changes anything for either of us, especially if you are an ordinary Honest Joe PAYE (the butt of all jokes in Ireland)


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 89 ✭✭✭ deadbloke


    "Many people have been convicted of a non-existent offence over a prolonged period of time and their convictions were unlawful and in breach of their fundamental human rights," said Dr Hayes.

    Is this a joke?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,865 langdang


    deadbloke wrote: »
    Is this a joke?
    No Goddamnit, this is the only time I've been discriminated against, and damn sure I'm going to milk it!


    Ya, it's a bit OTT in fairness! I could have disputed it at the time, but it was a fair cop - luckily I had backed off. I had that "this would be a perfect spot for a speed trap" (ie perfectly safe road, fish in barrel etc) feeling. If I had braked rather than just leaving off the accelerator I'd have been ok.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,242 ✭✭✭✭ djimi


    Am I understanding this right: its just the wording on the fine notification lettert that is wrong, as in, rather than saying section 5 it should be saying some other section?


  • Registered Users Posts: 4 carrigj


    What should one do if you find your Section 5 fine is incorrect? Mine was on the outskirts of a town on the Tralee Limerick Road on the outskirts of a town in a 60km zone


  • Registered Users Posts: 338 ✭✭ doubtfir3


    I got a fine on the main Cork-Waterford road last year - in the middle of nowhere and on the main road.

    My letter states:
    ...
    You are here notified, pursuant to section 5 of the Road Traffic Act 2002 that, following payment of a fixed charge in respect of an alleged offence of:

    Exceed 100 km/h speed limit

    committed on 10 October...

    Does this mean that I am entitled to have the offence quashed, and my fine refunded since I was in a clearly rural area?

    As mentioned above, who should I contact about this? My solicitor?

    Tks


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,568 ✭✭✭ daveharnett


    langdang wrote: »
    It appears they have applied Section 5 (built up areas, 50kmph) in areas that are clearly not built up. eg in my case the relatively superb road over the banjo-plucking-hills that is the abbeyfeale to castleisland road.
    Ah yes, the Knocknagoshel bypass :D There's certainly nothing you could call a town on that road allright.
    doubtfir3 wrote: »
    I got a fine on the main Cork-Waterford road last year - in the middle of nowhere and on the main road.

    Does this mean that I am entitled to have the offence quashed, and my fine refunded since I was in a clearly rural area?
    Sounds like it.
    doubtfir3 wrote: »
    As mentioned above, who should I contact about this? My solicitor?
    Yes.

    This c0ck-up could be very expensive for the state. Apart from the refunded fines, there's court time, loss of earnings for anybody who's 12 points included one of these, damages for those who were loaded by their insurers.....


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 29,821 ✭✭✭✭ Our man in Havana


    How would I find out if I was done under section 5 or not? I can't find the notice.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4 carrigj


    Perhaps you should write to the Fixed Penalty Notice Office An Garda Siochana Parnell Street Thurles and give them as much details as you can and ask them to furnish you with a copy of the notice.


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  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 60,636 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    I've just banged a fishing email off to the RSA asking where I get my refund. Not that I have an offence to refund, as council incompetence has already got the one time I've been caught refunded!


  • Registered Users Posts: 4 carrigj


    Would be interested to know what the reply from the RSA is?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 29,821 ✭✭✭✭ Our man in Havana


    carrigj wrote: »
    Would be interested to know what the reply from the RSA is?
    They will most likely say that no refund is due as you signed the FPN and paid up.

    I am going to FOI the Gardaí for a copy of my FPN and go from there.


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 60,636 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    at present we are awaiting confirmation from the Atorney Geneal on this matter. You can contact the fixed processing office in Thurles and they may be able to advise you on the appropriate steps to take with regard to this issue. The Contact telephone number for Thurles is 0504 59800.

    Got that by email yesterday


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 29,821 ✭✭✭✭ Our man in Havana


    I reckon it will take a solicitor to get any money back off the back of this.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,865 langdang


    Nice one MYOB.
    I'm not too bothered about mine (only that it was a pure revenue generating speedtrap rather than a speedtrap on a dangerous road) but if people were interested maybe the group of solicitors who made the initial challenge would have more info. (I presume you'd want to be dealing with a loss of licence etc before it would be worth it tho?)


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 29,821 ✭✭✭✭ Our man in Havana


    Well it would be unjust enrichment on the part of the state. The state would have to refund anyone wronged by this.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4 carrigj


    Any uodates on this story?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 29,821 ✭✭✭✭ Our man in Havana


    I am still investigating it.


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