Man seeks to challenge conviction for not displaying insurance disc

by Ann O'Loughlin

A man is seeking to challenge a seven-year old conviction for not displaying an insurance disc on his car after he learnt from gardai two months ago correct procedures had not been followed in his prosecution.

Robert Redmond, Streamville Road, Kilbarrack, Dublin, has asked the High Court for leave to seek judicial review quashing the February 11, 2010, conviction in the District Court for non-display of a disc.

Last April, gardai wrote to him saying "correct procedures were not followed" in relation to the prosecution. They said the matter could be rectified if he consented to gardai commencing an appeal process on his behalf.

Mr Redmond should have first been given an opportunity to pay a fixed charge penalty for that offence before any court prosecution took place.

In a statement grounding his judicial review proceedings, it is claimed a prosecution ought not to have commenced until he had an opportunity to deal with the matter under the 2002 Road Traffic Act which introduced penalty points and fixed charge notices. This allows a person to pay a fine within a month or else they are summonsed for court.

However, he was directly prosecuted and was ordered by the District Court to do 120 hours community service in 2010. Despite having legal representation at the time, he was convicted in error "unbeknownst to him and presumably to his then legal advisers", the statement says.

As an alternative to the quashing of the conviction, he seeks a declaration that the gardai and DPP should first tell him the precise legal basis as to how the conviction can be appealed.

Even if he could satisfy a court that he should be given an extension of time to appeal an seven year old conviction, Mr Redmond also says he cannot afford to make such an application and free legal aid does not apply to applications of this nature. He sought an assurance his legal costs would be paid for in any appeal by the gardai/DPP.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan said he wanted to hear from the gardai and the DPP before he considers whether or not to grant Mr Redmond leave to challenge.

He adjourned the matter to next month.

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