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1,206 bench warrants were issued in Cork last year

MORE than 1,200 bench warrants were issued in Cork City last year for people who failed to show up for court appearances.

The 1,206 warrants were issued for 107 different categories of crimes including a number of road traffic offences. 

Some of the highest bench warrants were 263 for theft and 154 for unlawful possession of drugs. 

Another 115 were issued for threatening, abusive, insulting behaviour in a public place.

108 bench warrants were issued for the offence of a car user not having insurance.

More seriously, there were 26 bench warrants issued for drink driving and another six were issued for drug driving last year in Cork city.

Nine bench warrants were issued for hit and run offences, 10 for dangerous driving and three for careless driving.

Head of Cork’s Divisional Traffic Corps, Inspector Finbarr O’Sullivan said blatantly disregarding a summons to come to court was not clever.

“It is a bit like the ostrich sticking its head in the stand, it is not going to go away. You can be convicted by the judge in absence of court but the judge would like you to have a chance to explain.

“If you are convicted of drink or drug driving it is an automatic disqualification from driving. A summons is a command to come to court.” Inspector O’Sullivan said Gardaí can’t disregard a bench warrant and could end up looking for you at work or at your home.

It is a huge inconvenience, avoiding a summons is stupid. You could end up having to spend the night in a cell.” Insp O’Sullivan explained if you are arrested before 5pm you will be brought before the courts, but after 5pm, you may have to spend a night in the Bridewell.

Insp O’Sullivan said facing up to the issue is a much better idea. “The judge wants to hear your side of the story, perhaps you have a perfectly good explanation.”