Judge ‘uneasy’ about gardaí speeding to and from court hearings

Judge 'uneasy' about gardaí speeding to and from court hearings

A judge with oversight of speeding ticket cancellations has said he is “uneasy” about gardaí claiming exemptions for speeding on their way to and from court hearings.

Judge Matthew Deery, the independent oversight authority for the Garda fixed charge processing system (FCPS) cancellation policy, called for a change in the law in his latest reports.

Under section 87 of the Road Traffic Act 2010, gardaí can claim an exemption from road traffic rules where they are driving in the course of duty and do not endanger the public.

However, Judge Deery said: “I remain uneasy about a member driving excessively fast and claiming the exemption, for example in circumstances where the member was attending a consultation in the Four Courts or where the member was bringing persons in custody back to the Garda station.”

He said a legislative amendment “should be considered where, in addition to the two requirements specified, a further one should be added to require the member to show why it was necessary to exceed the speed limit”.

The government said a similar recommendation was made in a recent Garda Inspectorate report on countering corruption and was accepted by the Department of Transport and by An Garda Síochána.

Overall, Judge Deery said he was “satisfied that there has been substantial compliance with the Fixed Charge Processing System Policy and Procedures Manual Fourth Edition” in 2019 and 2020.

Justice minister Heather Humphreys said: “I am pleased that Judge Deery’s reports confirm that there is continued ‘substantial compliance’ with fixed charge processing system policy and procedures.

“I am very grateful for his important work, which remains crucial to maintaining independent confidence in the processing system. Judge Deery’s oversight report reinforces public trust in the process.”

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