Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Questions (510)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

510. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 500 of 21 January 2014, if he will provide a breakdown based on each court district of the number of drivers in each month of 2013 who appeared in court charged with offences under the Road Traffic Acts and incurred penalty points but avoided convictions because they agreed to make a donation to the court poor box. [5118/14]

View answer

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 following table shows the number of defendants recorded on the Courts Service Criminal Case Tracking System who were before the court for offences under the Road Traffic Acts incurring penalty points in each court district in 2013 and the outcome of whose cases involved payments to the Court Poor Box. None of these people were convicted of the offences.

District Number

Jan.

Feb.

Mar.

Apr.

May

June

July

Aug.

Sept.

Oct.

Nov.

Dec.

Total

District No 1

6

15

3

3

9

-

1

-

4

6

1

1

49

District No 2

27

19

7

21

8

7

7

-

18

17

6

5

142

District No 3

-

1

1

1

-

-

1

-

1

5

1

1

12

District No 4

7

5

1

6

4

-

2

-

2

3

26

3

59

District No 5

8

4

9

8

4

3

2

-

5

5

16

9

73

District No 6

-

3

2

-

-

4

2

-

1

-

3

1

16

District No 7

-

-

-

-

2

-

-

-

-

-

1

3

6

District No 8

-

-

-

1

-

2

-

-

-

-

-

-

3

District No 9

6

8

4

11

14

8

7

-

5

6

2

9

80

District No 10

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

District No 12

2

8

7

4

5

5

17

-

3

18

7

12

88

District No 13

35

32

10

24

32

15

21

-

13

12

23

5

222

District No 15

2

-

2

5

4

1

2

-

3

5

1

2

27

District No 16

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

District No 17

1

4

8

10

15

16

20

-

12

36

29

46

197

District No 18

12

10

5

10

13

14

5

-

14

5

10

6

104

District No 19

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

District No 20

26

10

6

17

18

23

19

-

9

23

32

11

194

District No 21

4

6

6

5

6

7

4

-

5

8

11

8

70

District No 22

-

-

1

1

2

4

1

-

3

1

1

1

15

District No 23

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

District No 24

6

11

1

8

4

-

-

-

-

1

-

-

31

District No 25

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Dublin Metro- politan District

41

21

23

31

37

32

18

-

31

47

64

21

366

Total

183

157

96

166

177

141

129

-

129

198

234

144

1754

At its meeting today, the Government approved the drafting of the Criminal Justice (Community Sanctions) Bill, which will replace the Probation of Offenders Act 1907 with modern provisions dealing with community sanctions and the role of the Probation Service in the criminal justice system. It is intended that the legislation will provide for a statutory Reparation Fund to replace the Court Poor Box, as recommended by the Law Reform Commission in its 2005 report The Court Poor Box: Probation of Offenders. The details of the proposed Bill will be announced in due course.