JUST over 2,000 suspects failed to turn up in court to face charges in Cork’s nine district courts last year.
Figures from the Courts Service, provided through the Freedom of Information Act, revealed that those accused of motoring insurance offences were among the most likely to be issued with bench warrants for failing to show in court.
From January to November, 200 motorists charged with driving without insurance failed to turn up.
Among them was one motorist who was caught last May for driving without insurance for the fifth time.
Figures revealed: 504 people charged with theft offences did not turn up to face the charge, while 200 people charged with possession of drugs also didn’t show in court.
Large numbers of garda man hours are spent trying to bring people to court after they have attempted to evade the law.
Garda sources say following up on one bench warrant and bringing the alleged offender to court can require up to three members of the force.
Figures released by the Courts Service under the Freedom of Information Act showed that 2,064 bench warrants were issued in Cork courts in 2015, with an additional 2,001 in the first 11 months of last year.
The exact number on how many are outstanding is not yet available. However, the most recent figures available showed that there were just under 30,000 bench warrants across the country which were unexecuted on November 25, 2015.
Of those, 740 were in Cork city; 260 were in Cork North, and 130 were in Cork West — a total of 1,130. The figure is down from 1,651 in 2010.
Failing to appear in court to face criminal charges is an offence under Section 13 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984. The punishment is a fine of up to €1,270, a jail term of up to one year, or both.