by Frank Schnittger
Fri Feb 20th, 2009 at 06:08:10 AM EST
Cross posted from Think About It website promoted by the European Journalism Centre.
Dictionary helps crack case of notorious Polish serial offender - The Irish Times - Thu, Feb 19, 2009
HE WAS one of Ireland's most reckless drivers, a serial offender who crossed the country wantonly piling up dozens of speeding fines and parking tickets while somehow managing to elude the law.
So effective was his modus operandi of giving a different address each time he was caught that by June 2007 there were more than 50 separate entries under his name, Prawo Jazdy, in the Garda Pulse system. And still not a single conviction.
In the end, the vital clue to his identity lay not with Interpol or the fingerprint database but in the pages of a Polish-English dictionary. Prawo jazdy means driving licence.
In a letter dated June 17th, 2007, an officer from the Garda traffic division wrote that it had come to his attention that members inspecting Polish driving licences were noting Prawo Jazdy as the licence holder's name.
"Prawo Jazdy is actually the Polish for driving licence and not the first and surname on the licence," he wrote.
"Having noticed this I decided to check on Pulse and see how many members have made this mistake. It is quiet [sic] embarrassing to see that the system has created Prawo Jazdy as a person with over 50 identities.
Promoted by DoDo
I'm sure the drivers concerned were not too bothered about correcting the Garda (Irish Policeman) when he incorrectly transcribed the Polish for "Driving Licence" as the name of the License holder! The misreading of official documents in foreign languages must be a common occurrence across Europe. In Ireland it is common to get off a charge on a technicality if even one letter in your name is misspelled. Anybody else got any examples?