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Judicial Review – Section 5 Road Traffic Act 2004

Thousands of Irish motorists, convicted of speeding offences in our villages and rural town-lands over the last six years may now be able to have those convictions overturned.

This situation arises after a successful High Court judicial review case, taken by the Limerick based firm Hayes Solicitors, against the DPP. This case has resulted in a decision by District Judge Mary Martin 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 legislation as being areas of cities, towns and boroughs.

However, a recent test case brought before Nenagh District Court, here in Co.Tipperary, was withdrawn by the Gardaí, on the direction of the DPP, following this High Court judicial review.

District Judge Mary Martin, who sits in a number of courts in the Tipperary District, has now been striking out all cases involving drivers, prosecuted for speeding in villages and rural town-lands situated on both national primary routes and other roads.

Dr Hayes Stated:

“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 town-land situated on the main Limerick to 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 now convicted of a non-existent offence over a prolonged period of time and their convictions were unlawful and in breach of fundamental human rights. 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. There can be no punishment without law and to convict someone of a non existent offence was a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. Drivers were entitled to seek a remedy and be compensated for being wrongly convicted. ”

Dr Hayes confirmed that the number of drivers wrongly convicted are likely to be very substantial over time and such cases had to be withdrawn by the DPP to exonerate those accused.

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2 comments to Judicial Review – Section 5 Road Traffic Act 2004

  • George

    Is it possible to have points removed if a fixed penalty notice is accepted under section 5?

  • Hi George.
    Good Question.
    “There can be no punishment without law and to convict someone of a non existent offence was a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.”
    Based on this learned statement from Dr.Hayes, no ofence has been committed & I understand that penalty points should then be removed if section 5 is in question. Note however I am not a Solicitor.
    Thank you for your comment

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