Joker's Bottle of Frogs

by JokerXL

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Justice? Or (state sponsored) highway robbery?

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Navan, Republic of Ireland,
two lanes leading out of the town, I'm in the left lane going up a hill with a large sweeping curve to the left, about 70 degrees.
As you round the bend there are large white arrows painted on the road surface indicating that the left lane has become the lane for turning left only at the traffic lights some 50meters ahead.
There are no roadsigns prior to the bend.
I want to proceed straight across the lights so need to filter to the right of the two lanes which is now the only one for straight on. I indicate right.
A large white coach is travelling next to me, I let it's rear end pass my right mirror (remember I'm left hand drive on the left side of the road) and start to move over as there's a substantial gap behind the coach.
We're all braking steadily at this stage as the lights we're approaching have turned red.
The coach stops with my vehicle only partly across into that right hand lane. I'm stopped then at an angle across two lanes with the front of my vehicle mostly in the right lane, behind the coach, and the rear of the trailer still in the left lane, at an angle.
When the lights change and the bus moves off I follow it on. There's a beeping of a horn somewhere to the right of me and I see a white car 3/4 of the way up the trailer and dropping back as we pull away.
While I've been at an angle across the lanes, stationary at the lights, he's rounded the corner in the right hand lane and instead of stopping short of the rear of my trailer he's squeezed as far up the side as he can, "protecting" his presumed place behind the bus.
A non-event as far as I'm concerned, bit of a squeeze in traffic, no harm done, off we go then.
Ten minutes later, the other side of Kells, a Garde car passes me and indicates that I should pull over. Routine check, thinks I, but no sweat- I've had plenty of rest and haven't been in any hurry all day, 70kmh between towns.
Three Garde get out and accuse me of all kinds of carnage and mayhem! I have no idea what they're on about! The way they were carrying on you'd think I'd left a trail of dead school children in my wake.
I was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving and take to the Garde barracks in Kells where I was "processed" into the system (all possessions taken away, shoes off, one phone call allowed).
It transpires that the feller in the white car along side of me has phoned-in a complaint about me and the local Garde have deployed at speed to apprehend "the Dutch bastard".
At no stage was I either interviewed or asked to make a statement.
The feller in the white car was called to the barracks and interviewed for a statement, after which I was formally charged with both "Dangerous Driving" and a lesser charge of "Driving Without Due Care And Attention".
There's a "fast court" in session in Navan and they manage to get this case tagged onto today's list so I'm brought immediately to the court.
On the way there, in the car and at the court offices I manage to have a few words with the prosecuting officer and tell him my side of what (never) happened.
He totally agreed with me that there really wasn't much, if anything, to answer for but as long as the complainant wished to continue then he had to put it before the Judge and let him decide.
They offered to drop the charge of Dangerous Driving, which carries a possible prison sentence, huge fines and driving bans, if I pled guilty to the lesser charge of Driving Without Due Care And Attention which would only be a fine.
The lawyer I was appointed told me she was pretty certain that this Judge would find me guilty whatever the charge, he always does, she said, your a truck driver and a foreign one too. So she's advised me to plead guilty to the lesser offence and take the smaller fine.
I phoned Huisman again for advice and was told it was my choice, not much they could do for me, call when you've got it sorted. Well thanks a bunch.
So "my" Garde sits in the dock, I'm just standing around to one side somewhere while his evidence is given: "the witness stated this, the witness saw that" (not at all hearsay then?) but he was putting a positive slant on his evidence, in my favour.
"speed was not a factor"
"he was indicating throughout"
"this incident comes in right at the bottom of the scale of things"
"no actual harm came to anyone"
"there is a significant blind spot in that area of the vehicle" etc etc
So I'm thinking that things are going quite well.
The judge then leans back and says "fifteen hundred euro or ninety days detention"
My lawyer managed to persuade him to come down to 1000 as that was the maximum I was able to get out of the cash machine (they have no facility to transfer money electronically, bloody third world country)
So, 150 payed to the lawyer for her troubles and I'm returned to the truck.
Six hours later.
Hopefully I'll never have to visit Ireland again and I'd advise anyone else to think twice about going there. A third world country pretending to be "western" and "civilized".
Still a long way to go, in my opinion.
24th Oct 2008, 08:17  

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minkey says:

OMG...surely no way...is it a way to get money easily from "foreigners"...And a very blindfolded judge...grrrrr

24th Oct 2008, 08:44

harimanjaro says:

"Fast court"? "Kangaroo court" sounds more like it. Good thing your tyres weren't a bit worn, it'd be summary execution by the roadside for that.

24th Oct 2008, 09:44

Jane Doe says:

Horrific. Sounds like you were royally shafted by Huisman, too.

24th Oct 2008, 10:09

Jeeze..

Do you have to pay the fine or will you be able to claim it back?

Can you appeal, (difficult I know as you have already pleaded guilty)?

24th Oct 2008, 11:25

540air says:

That's the sort of crap you'd expect in some retarded dictator run third world country, bit like the Saudi way of "If you hadn't been in my country, I couldn't have crashed my car into yours". Was the judge on something? Or just a complete arsehole who lives in cloud cuckoo land?

24th Oct 2008, 11:37

JokerXL says:

Thanks guys, for taking the trouble to read this (rather long) post.
I do rather feel like I've just been robbed.
Whether Huisman will cover the fine is a matter for considerable debate still.
I'll be requesting and audience with "the boss feller" this afternoon. Hopefully they'll agree with me.
We shall see, watch this space.

24th Oct 2008, 12:18

hildegard says:

Does seem a bit of a rum go that you were convicted on the uncorroborated evidence of the complainant. Not a great advert for visiting Ireland, you're right.

24th Oct 2008, 12:51

Twiglet says:

Bunch of bastards.

Huge big hug for you Joker xxxx

24th Oct 2008, 12:52

Geodyne says:

Bloody hell, that's a kangaroo court for sure!

What a crap day - my sympathy Joker. Hopefully the boss man will actually be of some use to you.

24th Oct 2008, 13:13

crickson says:

Yeouch! Bad luck.

24th Oct 2008, 15:30

Spiderbaby says:

That's awful! No justice at all there. What a terrible experience for you. Only hope this isn't representative of all Irish justice...
Hope it goes OK with your boss.

24th Oct 2008, 17:07

FilbertFox says:

i am having great difficulty getting my tiny brain round this.

how can that have happened? And 90 days detention is a possible punishment for a minor traffic incident?

And your bosses sound like really nice and helpful people!

24th Oct 2008, 18:06

jonester says:

1000 bleeding euro on the word of another road user.no back up from the firm,I know you were in a pickle but bloody hell surely a period of time should of passed before the court and fine.I know for a fact I cant get my hands on 100 euro let alone 1000 so It would of been the 90 days for me then argue the toss.Stinks to high hell,I wouldnt be surprised if the car driver had links to the Garda or the court system to get the wheels in motion so fast.I hope your firm backs you up 100 % .I woud even write to a transport journal and your local M.P and get this out in the open.I know that an uninsured driver on the M50 in a car with no brakes only got 3 years for killing a little girl.Justice my arse,its right what you say.Tin pot system playing at being the real thing.

24th Oct 2008, 20:18

Jonester says:

God this has got to me,
I had a scrape on a roundabout in Kells I think it was.
Would you adam and Eve it there were 3 or 4 people ready and willing to prove me wrong quicker than I could blink.They even had people who knew the woman and even lived near her in case all else failed.

Anglo Irish love at its peak. Its a shame because I love the whole country and its wild west feel,but some people are born to push things to the max.

I cant get my head around the fact they were ready to lock you up ASAP . Its not bloody right,you could of just looked at them and spoke dutch if you wanted to be trouble

Skimmed card,kangaroo courts and traffic wardens is it bloody worth all the trouble? all you need now is a snotty nosed VOSA boy and you have had all the bad luck you could ever want.

Theres a drink for you of your choosing next time we meet.......

24th Oct 2008, 20:33

SLG says:

What ?

I LOATHE injustice I cant get my head around this either.

Dumb a........es

24th Oct 2008, 20:38

Caine says:

Jesus Cracked Christ! That sounds like one massive injustice to me. I hope Huisman picks up your fine, and more to the point, I hope nothing like this ever happens to you again.

24th Oct 2008, 20:38

queserasara says:

Boody hell - huge hug for you joker. You've not had a good month.

24th Oct 2008, 20:58

JokerXL says:

Thanks again everyone, I know it's a bit of a long story and pretty strange reading, it was even stranger being there.

There was a room full of people, about 100, case by case they were called forward, each one took only 2 to 5 minutes.
The judge seemed to be acting like some despot dictator.
Of the 25 to 30 cases I witnessed, before it was my turn, nobody was acquitted, not one!
200 euro for the guy parked on double yellow lines.
600 euro for the old man who had the wrong car insurance certificate (he'd thrown the new one away instead of the old one)
1200 euro for the single mother of 5 who had rent arrears. Three months behind because she'd lost her part time job. Total arrears 1200 euro "let her pay that in full plus the same amount in fines, 28 days to pay"
her lawyer then asked if "his honour" could show leniency as she'd no income.
"good, sixty days to pay then"
Fat, slimy bastard.

24th Oct 2008, 21:13

JokerXL says:

Jonester, it was great seeing you Tuesday, what a coincidence!
Are you going to post the picture(s)?

24th Oct 2008, 21:16

SLG says:

FAT, SLIMY F@@@@wit

sorry but where was this ?
Last century perhaps ?

24th Oct 2008, 21:20

jonester says:

bien bloody sur !!

just sorting out the eldest daughters PC then quick douche and when everyones asleep in the house I will creep down the wooden hill and do my own stuff in my own time and drink myself into a giddy wreck and take young Mr Morf out for a dawn walk when all the world is fast asleep,I will also make sure I take him past the canal boat with the big angry Alsatian who poops on the tow path, in the dark just to keep the thing on its toes and make sure its earning its keep - dont bark at things just because you think you are big and tough - 04:00 will just about be the right time snigger snigger.

24th Oct 2008, 21:27

SLG says:

scratches chin at jonesters' last comment ?

24th Oct 2008, 21:43

JokerXL says:

All will be revealed after 04.00 hrs SLG, I think.
I bumped into him (perhaps the wrong turn of phrase for the moment) at a service station on the M6 last Tuesday, he took a couple of pictures.
First time I've met him, he's suitably mad for Moblog, looking forward to arranging a night out with him.

24th Oct 2008, 21:50

SLG says:

can I come if I bring my night vision goggles ?

24th Oct 2008, 21:51

JokerXL says:

Always
Here's the answer SLG

24th Oct 2008, 22:29

Craft says:

I'll strike this off the list of places to see before I die. Bad luck mate.

24th Oct 2008, 22:55

That's terrible
I'd send a formal letter of complaint to the justice system and ask (hopefully through some fair European body) for your money refunded from the local council who appears to be making money from strangers to the area by a deliberate lack of earlier warning

25th Oct 2008, 08:47

How did you get on with the boss man, have they offered any assistance with the 'fine'?
The court is what sounds like a typical local session court, where it is only held on certain days as the judge travels around to all the villages.

Having had a quick looky in some of my old transport stuff. You can appeal to a circuit criminal court to get your sentence or conviction reduced. Maybe getting your employers legal people to write to the court for you would help recoup the costs.

26th Oct 2008, 10:29

JokerXL says:

Tnx SFG

That's exactly what the court was, one day a week in each of the local towns.

Not yet had the meeting "upstairs", when I got into the "funny-farm" on Friday (18.15hrs) the top two floors were in total darkness.
Monday afternoon then, when I get back in, if there's still anyone there!
Otherwise I'm going nowhere 'till Tuesday morning and we get this sorted.

Tnx for your legal tip too, I'll pass that on to "them upstairs" (not sure whether they'll do anything with it though, especially if it's left to me to pay).

26th Oct 2008, 10:44

Johnnie says:

Daar wordt je dus echt niet vrolijk van.

Als Huisman niet wil betalen wil ik wel kleine bijdrage geven.

26th Oct 2008, 10:50

No problem mate..

Have a read of this site might be useful..

26th Oct 2008, 11:15

JokerXL says:

Da's heel aardig van je John maar niet nodig.
We wachten af wat er maandag gezegd wordt.
Doe voorzichtig daarbuiten!

26th Oct 2008, 11:31

Paddington says:

A VERY SAD DAY FOR THE IRISH.

26th Oct 2008, 13:14

I'm liking Johnnie and agreeing with Paddington

26th Oct 2008, 15:36

MaggieD says:

OMG, just catching up with this ..... and I have to say I find it hard to blame the Irish as a whole, but that judge and the system that supports such meglomania needs some serious sorting! .....

Big hugs from me, Marty ....

26th Oct 2008, 17:39

JokerXL says:

Tnx all.

26th Oct 2008, 20:28

JokerXL says:

Update:

Had our little meeting this evening with John & Dik, they were kind enough to wait for me to fight my way across from then wrong side of Holland in the evening rush-hour.
My costs are covered, thanks for that John.
Obviously this isn't "carte blanch" for every driver to go out there driving like an eejit because "the company pays".
Things will be looked at on a case by case basis.
The company lawyers will be looking into anything that can be done to complain about the way things were conducted, Ireland is an EU country and should have the same standards in this sort of thing as any other country.
We also need to get a protocol agreed as to what should be done if and when a driver phones up in a similar situation (they don't have a lot of experience with this sort of thing, we're a well behaved bunch, apparently).
The boss is convinced, in his own mind, that the company stands 100% behind its drivers but that thought needs to be conveyed to the guys on the ground a bit better, they're not all convinced.
Hopefully all this will at least have alerted everyone to the fact that this kind of thing can, and does, happen and we'll be a little better prepared for it in the future.
Thanks for all your support and comments here guys.

27th Oct 2008, 21:56

Paddington says:

"Behind every cloud...? "

28th Oct 2008, 06:45

hildegard says:

Phew!

28th Oct 2008, 08:47

FilbertFox says:

still reckon you should have taken the 90 days!

28th Oct 2008, 09:07

Result :)

28th Oct 2008, 10:17

pandairo says:

bunch of irish wankers.
glad you're sorted mate :-)

28th Oct 2008, 13:48

seaneeboy says:

Urgh. Sometimes it's embarrassing to be Irish.

Glad it's sorted, even if the stress has probably added a few grey hairs :(

29th Oct 2008, 10:19

taniwha says:

sounds awful but terrific that your company is standing by you. Must say something about your reputation as a reliable driver too.

30th Oct 2008, 14:07

Geodyne says:

I'm so pleased that things have worked out in your favour so far. It still shouldn't have happened in the first place!

31st Oct 2008, 11:11

JokerXL says:

Tnx all,
all sorted now.

€190,- costs to me, but that's the risk we run I suppose.

31st Oct 2008, 20:13