Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Questions (178)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

178. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 447 of 30 April 2013, if he will provide, for each month of this year to date in 2013, the number of motorists appearing in court charged with offences under the Road Traffic Acts incurring penalty points who avoided convictions because they agreed to make a donation to the court poor box. [44986/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The court poor box is a non-statutory system used mostly by the District Courts to impose a financial charge on a defendant to be used for a charitable purpose, usually instead of imposing a criminal conviction. Payments made to the court poor box are accounted for by the court office concerned and the accounting procedures are subject to audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General. Generally, charities are the recipients of poor box contributions but the decision is solely at the discretion of the Judge who is independent in the matter of sentencing, as in other matters concerning the exercise of judicial functions, subject only to the Constitution and the law.

In order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the table below shows the number of defendants recorded on the Courts Service Criminal Case Tracking System (CCTS) who were before the court for offences under the Road Traffic Act incurring penalty points for each month of this year up to the end of August 2013 and the outcome of whose cases involved payments to the Court Poor Box. None of these people were convicted of the offences.

Month

Number of Defendants

January

183

February

157

March

96

April

166

May

177

June

141

July

129

August

0

TOTAL

1,049