Court Summons, driving without due care & attention

mathepac

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Thanks, @Sue Ellen I believe the vertical stripes and arrows are slimming on the more mature figure. I appreciate the offer of the cake but upon committal I'll need a doggy-minder for the terrierist and her brother the Rottie. Maybe they can be trained for rescue operations, like Lassie or Rin Tin Tin. :)
 

SparkRite

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Cheers for the update @mathepac , enjoyed reading it and appreciated the comedic content.

Once the GD order is enacted you will see exactly what you have been accused of and what 'evidence' they are relying on.
 

Purple

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The only ones who fear Court and indeed prison are the ordinary folk,
I was in Tallaght Court as an interested observer on a number of occasions and what struck me was that it was very much the rulers and the ruled; the judge and legal people all spoke the same was and dresses the same way and the accused, and most of the gallery, were part of an underclass which really couldn't function in manisteam society. People with serious addiction and mental health issues who were for the most part functionally illiterate. It occurred to me that most of the money spent greasing the legal aid machine would be better spent on on-patient rehabilitation and adult educational services. Thank god we have DEIS schools to at least try to break the cycle.
 

Purple

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Thanks, @Sue Ellen I believe the vertical stripes and arrows are slimming on the more mature figure. I appreciate the offer of the cake but upon committal I'll need a doggy-minder for the terrierist and her brother the Rottie. Maybe they can be trained for rescue operations, like Lassie or Rin Tin Tin. :)
Rin Tin Tin? You really are old! :p
 

DirectDevil

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It is very exasperating for a defendant to receive an accusation in what seems like the abstract i.e. utterly no knowledge of any event until approached by Gardaí. It often leaves defendants wondering anxiously how they can even begin to get a grip on the alleged facts with a view to formulating a defence.

Just a few observations on first principles (aka the perfectly but importantly bleedin obvious) ;

DISCLOSURE.

The documents due to be disclosed should give you some idea of just what "facts" are being alleged.
That should enable you to fashion a defence.

ONUS OF PROOF.

Generally, defendants are not required to prove their innocence.
However, be aware of a conceptual peculiarity in the nature of Road Traffic Act (RTA) type prosecutions.
RTA cases occupy that twilight zone known as strict liability offences.
If the prosecution can establish the alleged basic facts guilt will then be assumed.
This has the practical effect of shifting the onus to the accused to establish that they are not guilty.
For example, three credible prosecution witnesses saying that the accused drove through a red light will create that strict liability type presumption of guilt leaving it to the defendant to prove otherwise.

STANDARD OF PROOF.

Despite the preceding paragraph the prosecution actually carries the burden of proof.
The required standard is that of establishing the case beyond reasonable doubt.
If there is reasonable doubt the benefit of that must go to the accused.

On a practical level it will be interesting to see if all of the star witnesses made statements.
If they are weak or contradictory statements the best hope is that they all give evidence so that they can be tied in knots :)
It does not follow that all of them who made statements will be called by the prosecution.
However, any such "unused" or potentially damaging witness could be called by you if there is a chance that they are more use to you.

POOR BOX.

+1 previous advices about the poor box - that would have been a tactical mistake.

PLEADING DOWN.

As I understand it you are charged under S.51 RTA 1961 [as amended] to wit "A person shall not drive a vehicle in a public place without reasonable consideration for other persons using the place."

This offence is "junior" to careless driving(S.52) and dangerous driving (S.53) so I cannot see anything lower to which to plead down !

Sydney Carton.

He got his head chopped off.
He did receive "justice" from the ladies doing their knitting at the foot of the guillotine in that they made sure that everyone's head got a fair and equal bounce. :)

COSTS.

If you win you will not be recovering costs.
However, if you get a win you may save yourself problems with insurers to whom you would have to declare any conviction.

I wish you well and hope it works out.
 

Brendan Burgess

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Mathepac

I had missed your update. Brilliantly written. Have you read Bleak House? The first chapter alone will prepare you for the struggle ahead.

On such an afternoon, if ever, the Lord High Chancellor ought to be sitting here—as here he is—with a foggy glory round his head, softly fenced in with crimson cloth and curtains, addressed by a large advocate with great whiskers, a little voice, and an interminable brief, and outwardly directing his contemplation to the lantern in the roof, where he can see nothing but fog. On such an afternoon some score of members of the High Court of Chancery bar ought to be—as here they are—mistily engaged in one of the ten thousand stages of an endless cause, tripping one another up on slippery precedents, groping knee-deep in technicalities, running their goat-hair and horsehair warded heads against walls of words and making a pretence of equity with serious faces, as players might. On such an afternoon the various solicitors in the cause, some two or three of whom have inherited it from their fathers, who made a fortune by it, ought to be—as are they not?—ranged in a line, in a long matted well (but you might look in vain for truth at the bottom of it) between the registrar's red table and the silk gowns, with bills, cross-bills, answers, rejoinders, injunctions, affidavits, issues, references to masters, masters' reports, mountains of costly nonsense, piled before them. Well may the court be dim, with wasting candles here and there; well may the fog hang heavy in it, as if it would never get out; well may the stained-glass windows lose their colour and admit no light of day into the place; well may the uninitiated from the streets, who peep in through the glass panes in the door, be deterred from entrance by its owlish aspect and by the drawl, languidly echoing to the roof from the padded dais where the Lord High Chancellor looks into the lantern that has no light in it and where the attendant wigs are all stuck in a fog-bank! This is the Court of Chancery, which has its decaying houses and its blighted lands in every shire, which has its worn-out lunatic in every madhouse and its dead in every churchyard, which has its ruined suitor with his slipshod heels and threadbare dress borrowing and begging through the round of every man's acquaintance, which gives to monied might the means abundantly of wearying out the right, which so exhausts finances, patience, courage, hope, so overthrows the brain and breaks the heart, that there is not an honourable man among its practitioners who would not give—who does not often give—the warning, "Suffer any wrong that can be done you rather than come here!"


Who happen to be in the Lord Chancellor's court this murky afternoon besides the Lord Chancellor, the counsel in the cause, two or three counsel who are never in any cause, and the well of solicitors before mentioned? There is the registrar below the judge, in wig and gown; and there are two or three maces, or petty-bags, or privy purses, or whatever they may be, in legal court suits. These are all yawning, for no crumb of amusement ever falls from Jarndyce and Jarndyce (the cause in hand), which was squeezed dry years upon years ago. The short-hand writers, the reporters of the court, and the reporters of the newspapers invariably decamp with the rest of the regulars when Jarndyce and Jarndyce comes on. Their places are a blank. Standing on a seat at the side of the hall, the better to peer into the curtained sanctuary, is a little mad old woman in a squeezed bonnet who is always in court, from its sitting to its rising, and always expecting some incomprehensible judgment to be given in her favour. Some say she really is, or was, a party to a suit, but no one knows for certain because no one cares. She carries some small litter in a reticule which she calls her documents, principally consisting of paper matches and dry lavender. A sallow prisoner has come up, in custody, for the half-dozenth time to make a personal application "to purge himself of his contempt," which, being a solitary surviving executor who has fallen into a state of conglomeration about accounts of which it is not pretended that he had ever any knowledge, he is not at all likely ever to do. In the meantime his prospects in life are ended. Another ruined suitor, who periodically appears from Shropshire and breaks out into efforts to address the Chancellor at the close of the day's business and who can by no means be made to understand that the Chancellor is legally ignorant of his existence after making it desolate for a quarter of a century, plants himself in a good place and keeps an eye on the judge, ready to call out "My Lord!" in a voice of sonorous complaint on the instant of his rising. A few lawyers' clerks and others who know this suitor by sight linger on the chance of his furnishing some fun and enlivening the dismal weather a little.


Jarndyce and Jarndyce drones on. This scarecrow of a suit has, in course of time, become so complicated that no man alive knows what it means. The parties to it understand it least, but it has been observed that no two Chancery lawyers can talk about it for five minutes without coming to a total disagreement as to all the premises. Innumerable children have been born into the cause; innumerable young people have married into it; innumerable old people have died out of it. Scores of persons have deliriously found themselves made parties in Jarndyce and Jarndyce without knowing how or why; whole families have inherited legendary hatreds with the suit. The little plaintiff or defendant who was promised a new rocking-horse when Jarndyce and Jarndyce should be settled has grown up, possessed himself of a real horse, and trotted away into the other world. Fair wards of court have faded into mothers and grandmothers; a long procession of Chancellors has come in and gone out; the legion of bills in the suit have been transformed into mere bills of mortality; there are not three Jarndyces left upon the earth perhaps since old Tom Jarndyce in despair blew his brains out at a coffee-house in Chancery Lane; but Jarndyce and Jarndyce still drags its dreary length before the court, perennially hopeless.
Jarnd
 

mathepac

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PLEADING DOWN.
As I understand it you are charged under S.51 RTA 1961 [as amended] to wit "A person shall not drive a vehicle in a public place without reasonable consideration for other persons using the place."
Thanks for your very helpful posts.
The text on the summons says "did drive a vehicle registered number 99-X-99999 without due care and attention. Contrary to Section 52(1) of the Road Traffic Act, 1961 (as substituted by section 4 of the Road Traffic No. 2) Act 2011)"

Is this a higher-level offence than S.51 RTA 1961 you mention?

I understand a bit more clearly now that the summons is an enforceable notice to appear in the designated Court to face the accusation described in the summons and to request the evidence leading to the summons/accusation. Several bench warrants were issued on my day in court to arrest and bring before the Court people who'd failed to appear or to re-appear.

My attempts at humour were not intended to be disrespectful to any of the institutions, people or processes, more the frail, elderly (thanks @Purple), naive person's efforts to cope with a daunting prospect.
 
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mathepac

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Brilliantly written. Have you read Bleak House? The first chapter alone will prepare you for the struggle ahead.
Thanks @brendan Yes, as a youngster, borrowed from a great-uncle's vast library. Thanks for reminding me of another adventure I need to revisit, although my few scribbles don't deserve to appear in the same parish as the work of a genius, nor do I expect them to bring about judicial reform as his did.

Offers of cakes, literary praise, sartorial advice, expert legal opinion, humour - where else would such bounty be available to the humble accused, and all free?
 

Brendan Burgess

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I expect them to bring about judicial reform as his did.
Did they?

I head that quote being read on a BBC 4 lecture a few years ago. I missed the beginning and thought it was about the current courts system in the UK.
And the lecturer said the same "Very little has changed since Dickens wrote this 150 years ago"

Brendan
 

mathepac

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Greatuncle John, a school-teacher, believed in post-project reviews and asked me what I'd learned when I returned any borrowed books. One comment he made always stuck with me. It was about the power of writing to bring about real social change, or at least to change how people thought about an issue. He told me that Bleak House had brought judicial change in England. The youthful me just took it as gospel.
 

SparkRite

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And by far the BIGGEST variable in this 'sorry tale' will be the judges humor on the day.

Remember, district courts have very little to do with justice.
 

DirectDevil

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Thanks for your very helpful posts.
The text on the summons says "did drive a vehicle registered number 99-X-99999 without due care and attention. Contrary to Section 52(1) of the Road Traffic Act, 1961 (as substituted by section 4 of the Road Traffic No. 2) Act 2011)"

Is this a higher-level offence than S.51 RTA 1961 you mention?
SNIP SNIP
As you have detailed it above the answer would have to be "yes".

The old S.52 was the offence of careless driving.
The amendment - S.52(1) - created the offence of driving without due care and attention - as is actually charged here.
Another amendment - S.51A - created the lesser offence of driving without reasonable consideration for other persons using the place.

This prompts me to raise a query by way of analogy.
Suppose that a person was charged under S.53 [Dangerous Driving].
If there is not enough evidence to convict under S.53 they must be acquitted of that charge.
However, if the same evidence would stand up a conviction for the lesser charge under S.52 they could be convicted of that offence.
That is specified in the legislation.
Effectively, there is a S.52 charge wrapped up inside every S.53 charge !
However, if a person is charged under S.52 I cannot see any analogous provision for a conviction under S.51 even if the evidence stands it up.
You are not charged under S. 51 so I cannot see how you can plead down to S.51.
I will stand to be corrected on this if the point is hiding in that Jarndyce like labyrinth that is RTA law
 

DirectDevil

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Just looking at something that reminds me of this case so I mention it in passing.

In driving offence cases a fundamental prosecution proof is evidence of driving by the defendant.
I note the significant discrepancies in how the witnesses described you !
Doubts about identity of the driver - and thus evidence of driving - should always be resolved in favour of the driver.
Your solicitor will deal with that evidentiary gem..........

Hopefully you said nothing incriminating about this to the Gardaí AFTER caution..................
 

Brendan Burgess

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Mathepac is not denying that he was driving that car at that time in that place. I don't think it's a good idea to play games with the legal system.

The judge will make up his own mind as to whose evidence is more convincing.

Brendan
 

galway_blow_in

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Never ever make a statement to the guards, that way you don't risk tripping over your recollection of events when court day arrives, a statement gives the guards material to use against you, much better say nothing and if summonsed, have your story ready on court day
 
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mathepac

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I believe in telling the truth which is what I've tried to do at all stages of this case. My belief is that telling the truth, to the best of my ability, means my story is consistent and I only have to remember one version of the events. I made a statement to my local Guard because I know him and because it was the truth. There are no Garda witnesses to the incident, just the Guard who took the complainants' statements and whoever acts for the DPP in court.

I never done it Guv'nor, me brief is gonna explain why me character is as white as the driven snow, your Judgeship, innit, eh?
 

DirectDevil

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Evidence of your undisputed good character is a plea in mitigation not a defence ;)
Mathepac is not denying that he was driving that car at that time in that place. I don't think it's a good idea to play games with the legal system.

The judge will make up his own mind as to whose evidence is more convincing.

Brendan
You are quite right and I agree entirely.

The same said legal system provides inter alia that no accused is required to incriminate themselves.
Whether OP was driving is one of the proofs that must be established by the prosecution.
Even if that point is conceded there is all the other evidence to be considered.

If OP gets a bum decision there is always the more rarefied and civil atmosphere of the Circuit Court by way of appeal !
 

galway_blow_in

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I believe in telling the truth which is what I've tried to do at all stages of this case. My belief is that telling the truth, to the best of my ability, means my story is consistent and I only have to remember one version of the events. I made a statement to my local Guard because I know him and because it was the truth. There are no Garda witnesses to the incident, just the Guard who took the complainants' statements and whoever acts for the DPP in court.

I never done it Guv'nor, me brief is gonna explain why me character is as white as the driven snow, your Judgeship, innit, eh?
I never advocated being untruthful, I'm advocating the option to remain silent as its a position which best serves the interests of someone being questioned by the guards, you ended up in court despite your friendship with a local guard

Talking should be reserved for a court appearance when dealing with any arm of the law

I accept that isn't at the heart of the issue here but its a valuable common principle
 

galway_blow_in

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Evidence of your undisputed good character is a plea in mitigation not a defence ;)


You are quite right and I agree entirely.

The same said legal system provides inter alia that no accused is required to incriminate themselves.
Whether OP was driving is one of the proofs that must be established by the prosecution.
Even if that point is conceded there is all the other evidence to be considered.

If OP gets a bum decision there is always the more rarefied and civil atmosphere of the Circuit Court by way of appeal !
Appeals are expensive
 

SparkRite

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I never advocated being untruthful, I'm advocating the option to remain silent as its a position which best serves the interests of someone being questioned by the guards, you ended up in court despite your friendship with a local guard

Talking should be reserved for a court appearance when dealing with any arm of the law

I accept that isn't at the heart of the issue here but its a valuable common principle
Agree 110% (if that was possible) with @galway_blow_in .
I have been told same by many a guard, some of which I am related to.
Keep 'stum', until the court requires you to speak, for many a good reason, some of which will only come to light during the hearing itself.
If required to speak, answer the question and only that question in as few words as possible, do not 'volunteer' information.
A few tales have been recounted to me where people who believed 'they were 100% in the right' have unwittingly talked themselves into a conviction.
 
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