Judge dismissed ‘unfair’ no insurance case against e-scooter driving UL student

Ennis courthouse
Ennis Courthouse

A JUDGE has dismissed a no insurance prosecution against an e-scooter owner after being told it is impossible for the third level student to get insurance for his e-scooter.

At Ennis District Court, Judge Mary Cashin dismissed the no insurance case against UL student Mezis Emenikeonu (27), of The Courtyard Student Village, Castletroy, Limerick.

Judge Cashin said that it was not safe to convict e-scooter drivers for no insurance as the Government is currently bringing in legislation to address the issues around e-scooter use.

Garda Ken Butler gave evidence of operating a speed check on the N18 going into Shannon on July 29 last year when he clocked Mr Emenikeonu’s e-scooter going at a speed of 20km/h driving up the hard-shoulder at the N18 at Clonmoney near Shannon.

A third level student at the University of Limerick (UL) at the time, Mr Emenikeonu was making his way to work at the local Supermacs in Shannon.

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Garda Butler told Mr Emenikeonu to stop and, after Mr Emenikeonu was unable to provide evidence of insurance or a licence, Garda Butler seized the e-scooter.

Solicitor for Mr Emenikeonu, Billy Loughnane, said that he had no argument with Garda Butler over the facts of the case.

However, Mr Loughnane told Judge Cashin that it would be unfair to convict his client, telling the court that “it was impossible for Mr Emenikeonu to obtain insurance for the e-scooter and is still impossible for him to get insurance”.

Mr Loughnane said that it was in the programme for Government that road traffic legislation would be introduced for e-scooters.

“The Government’s 2023 legislation on e-scooters hasn’t come into effect as secondary legislation is required and is to follow and it seems that won’t be ready until the end of year or early next year,” he told the court

Mr Loughnane said that it cost Mr Emenikeonu €150 to retrieve his e-scooter from the Gardaí but that he hasn’t used it since.

He explained that Mr Emenikeonu usually got to Shannon from Limerick by bus and scooted from the Shannon bus stop to Supermacs.

Mr Loughnane said that on July 29 of last year, Mr Emenikeonu got off the packed bus one stop early to make way for a wheelchair user and that is how Mr Emenikeonu found himself e-scooting on the hard shoulder leading into Shannon.

The solicitor said that the e-scooters have not been insurable before by insurance companies as they were not classified but they are now classified as powered personal transporters.

Judge Cashin stated that she was dismissing both the no insurance and no driving licence summons against Mr Emenikeonu.