Chain of evidence concern relating to GoSafe prosecutions

Contested GoSafe prosecutions led to Inspector John McDonald, who is responsible for running the fixed charge processing unit in Thurles, being before Ballina District Court this week to outline the role of GoSafe and the procedure which takes place from between time of speeding detection, and a fine being issued, and if necessary the issuing of a summons.

Insp McDonald said that a contract between the Minister for Justice and GoSafe came into effect in November 2009; this contract however was not available to the court. The inspector explained that GoSafe operators are under the control of a superintendent who directs the GoSafe vans to their locations. GoSafe operators have no autonomy, they just upload images through a secure, encrypted file at local GoSafe depots, which then goes to GoSafe offices in Listowel. These images are then sent electronically to Garda HQ, and then to the fixed charge unit in Thurles. Finally the file is electronically sent to Sandyford where fixed charge notices are printed.

Solicitor Mary McGregor, representing one defendant, said there is “absolutely minimal human involvement in the process”. The solicitor said there was no evidence in court of the agreement between the Minister and GoSafe and said there is an evidential gap between the initial photo taken by GoSafe and the photo produced in court.

Solicitor John Gordon said there is a break in the chain of evidence and the image produced to those before court is not necessarily the same image which was taken at the roadside; the image is not printed in the GoSafe van and no evidence had been given that this image could be interfered with.

Judge Mary Devins said she would like time to consider the matter and adjourned the case for decision to November 13.


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