“IT’S a motorway, not a runway,” said Judge Tony Hunt at last week’s Circuit Court, chiding a Cork man for speeding at 180km/h in a 120km zone.
Donal Lordan, Ballinspittle, Kinsale, Cork, committed the offence at the M8 Motorway, Springfield, Ballacolla, on November 21, 2011. He was charged with careless driving and disqualified at a previous sitting of the District Court.
Appealing the decision last week, defence, Ms Geraldine Fitzpatrick explained that her client had been travelling to Meath with three others on the day and had been “making up time on the motorway”.
“Well, the answer to that is, you leave on time,” retorted Judge Hunt, who said it was “downright dangerous” to be travelling at that speed.
Ms Fitzpatrick admitted that Lordan deserved to lose out, but she said that he had pulled in immediately when gardaí flashed their lights.
“Not immediately, he had to slow down from that considerable speed,” remarked the judge.
Ms Fitzpatrick said Lordan had been surprised at how fast he had been going and she pointed out he has no previous convictions after driving for 35 years.
“It was an aberration, a once off,” she said.
“It’s not an aberration,” replied Judge Hunt, “there are idiots going by you on the motorway at outrageous speed all the time.”
Ms Fitzpatrick said that a disqualification could have a knock-on effect on Lordan’s life and she remarked that her client had only been fined €200, when the law allows for a maximum fine of €5,000. She said that Judge Hunt could therefore mark the seriousness of the offence without a disqualification.
“This is a nonsensical speed,” declared the judge. “If you’re travelling any faster (than 120km) you’re presenting a danger to yourself and others. If he requires his licence for economic purposes, then the penalty must fit.”
As Lordan had shown “a distinct lack of care for the safety of others”, Judge Hunt said that a substantial financial penalty was needed. The judge lifted the driving disqualification, but he increased the fine to €2,500.
“People can not be allowed to travel at this speed,” he said.