Motorist facing parking fines tells judge: 'I'll be asking the questions not answering them'

ireland
Motorist Facing Parking Fines Tells Judge: 'I'll Be Asking The Questions Not Answering Them' Motorist Facing Parking Fines Tells Judge: 'I'll Be Asking The Questions Not Answering Them'
Pensioner Tom Dignam appeared before Letterkenny District Court charged for failing to pay four parking fines. Photo: NW Newspix
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Stephen Maguire

A pensioner charged with not paying four parking fines told a judge he would be "asking the questions and not answering them".

Tom Dignam appeared at Letterkenny District Court in Co Donegal charged with the offences.

Mr Dignam (72) was charged with parking without a parking permit at Market Street, Ballybofey on January 14th and 25th, April 20th and May 16th.

An employee from Donegal Co Council gave evidence of issuing a fine on each occasion but said that the fines had never been paid.

Mr Dignam, who represented himself, told Judge Éiteáin Cunningham he would be the one asking the questions and not answering them.

Tom Dignam arriving at Letterkenny Circuit Court. (NW Newspix)

He then added: "This is a private trust matter and cannot be heard in this court. I am not here to argue the facts.

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"How can I help you resolve this matter here today?"

Judge Cunningham told Dignam he was entitled to cross-examine the witness in the normal way if he so chose.

She added that after examining the facts she would make a finding, and if he was not happy he could appeal the matter to the Circuit Court.

'Solve this matter

Each charge and the relevant evidence was then read out to Dignam, and Judge Cunningham asked him if he had anything to say.

On each occasion, the accused replied he was not there to "argue the fact" and again asked the judge how he could help her "solve this matter".

On each occasion, Judge Cuningham fined Mr Dignam €80 and also awarded a further €138 to Donegal County Council.

The accused, of Woodlands, Dooish, Ballybofey, was ordered to pay €320 in fines and €552 in costs, bringing the overall total to €872.

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Solicitor for the council, Mr Kevin McElhinney, added that Dignam has a series of other parking fines due before the court.

He said under section 27 of the Road Traffic Act, the court has the power to disqualify Dignam from driving due to his number of unpaid fines.

Mr McElhinney said he was not seeking to have Dignam disqualified from driving, but said he would take the matter into consideration at future sittings.

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