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Judge admits to driving for three months without NCT

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A DISTRICT Court judge has admitted to driving for three months without having an NCT certificate.

But Judge Patrick Clyne said during a sitting of Edenderry District Court that he did not have the certificate for his car for those three months because he couldn’t get an appointment.

His comments were made as he struck out two charges against an Offaly man accused of not having an NCT and for driving without proving his vehicle was safe.

The judge said he understood “the vagaries of the system” and had himself driven for months with no NCT because he couldn’t get an appointment.

He had attempted on three occasions to arrange a test date but “nobody comes back to you”, he said.

Empathising with John Cullen, of Greenwood Park, Edenderry, who had no cert when he was stopped on November 20 last, the judge struck out the charges.

But the National Car Test Service said it could not understand how the judge was unable to get an appointment to have his car tested.

A spokeswoman said their call centre was “quite efficient” and usually answered calls within three or four seconds.

Admitting there were scheduling difficulties, she said that bookings were still being taken, with some tests scheduled into late August and September.

Some 70 staff were employed to deal with appointments and delays were because non-compliant drivers whose cert was out of date for a year or more were now looking for appointments, she said.

Gardai have said that once a driver has an NCT appointment receipt they will not be prosecuted.

Embarrassed

This is not the first time a District Court judge has admitted to driving without a certificate. In 2008, Judge Terence Finn was “very embarrassed and very apologetic” after being fined €250 for driving his seven-year-old car without an NCT cert.

The judge was stopped during an operation aimed at cracking down on non-compliance and pleaded guilty to driving his car, a BMW saloon, without the certificate.

New laws introduced by Transport Minister Noel Dempsey last year impose a mandatory court appearance for not having an NCT, with five penalty points applied to a a licence. A fine of up to €1,500 can also be imposed.

Figures from the Courts Service show that 10,310 people appeared in court last year charged with driving a vehicle without an NCT certificate.

Points have been handed down in 621 cases, but only applied in 46 cases.

– Claire O’Brien

Irish Independent

Published under NCT, Road Safetysend this post
July 23rd, 2011
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