€2,000 fixed fine for travelling to airport during Covid to be challenged in High Court

€2,000 Fixed Fine For Travelling To Airport During Covid To Be Challenged In High Court
Nicolae and Florin Mazarache were travelling to Spain to visit family members on April 17th, 2021, when they were stopped at the airport by a garda
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High court reporters

A father and son who received €2,000 fixed penalty notices for allegedly breaching Covid regulations by travelling to Dublin Airport in 2021 have been given leave to challenge the notices by the High Court.

Nicolae and Florin Mazarache were travelling to Spain to visit family members on April 17th, 2021, when they were stopped at the airport by a garda and later issued with the notices alleging the had "committed an offence of movement of persons" at a port or airport contrary to the 1947 Health Act (as amended).


A fixed payment of €2,000 was applied and if not paid they would have to go before the District Court where, if convicted, could face a fine of up to €4,000 and/or one month's imprisonment, or both.

The Mazaraches, of Lealand Meadows, Clondalkin, Dublin, sought to bring judicial review proceedings. The High Court said the application should be heard in the presence of the respondents, the Garda Commissioner, the DPP and the Minister for Health, and not as a one-side only represented application.

On Tuesday, the application was heard by Mr Justice Cian Ferriter who granted leave to bring the case.

Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha SC, for the Mazaraches, argued, among other things, the fixed payment notice did not cite any particular regulation as having been breached and therefore did not show jurisdiction on its face. The court heard Mr Mazarche senior had limited English but following a translation by his son, he understood from the garda who stopped him that there would be no fine, that his name was simply being taken.


The State, represented by Remy Farrell SC, said the leave application should be refused as there was a remedy available when a person goes before the District Court if they have not paid the fixed payment notice.

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Mr Justice Ferriter said while a summons or charge sheet do not have to specify the extent of an alleged offence, it must "set out the nub of the offence" so that the person it is addressed to knows what they have to deal with.

In his view, it was arguable that the description of the offence in this case "the movement of persons" to a port or airport fell short of the requirement. While the respondents argued there was very evidently an offence created by travelling to an airport, given there were a large number of regulations issued during the pandemic, it was arguable that the requirement that a person reasonably comprehends what they are accused of was not met.

He could not say their case was bound to fail and he therefore granted leave to bring the action. He stressed he was not expressing a view on whether they had a good case or not and it is possible the State will be proved correct.


He continued an injunction restraining the State from prosecuting them in the District Court pending the outcome of the full hearing.

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