Judge: No doubt she intended to drive
A BONANE woman, who claimed she was just waiting for a taxi in her car in Kenmare, when she was breathalysed and charged with being in charge of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, was disqualified from driving for three years at Kenmare District Court this week.
Judge David Waters said that, despite Grace O’Sullivan’s claims that she did not intend to drive and that she had texted a taxi driver earlier in the evening and later called one, he believed she intended to drive the vehicle.
He said that in her direct evidence at Kenmare District Court, where she showed text messages and a call log to the court, she had not told the gardaí that she was waiting for a taxi on the night in question.
Garda Caroline Hennessy told the court that Ms O’Sullivan had told her that she was only going two kilometres out the road when she approached her at the car park in Lodge Wood in Kenmare on August 8,2017.
She said that Ms O’Sullivan was sitting in the driving seat and was reluctant to open the window but eventually opened the door and got out.
The court heard that Garda Hennessy then asked her to perform a breath test which she failed. Ms O’Sullivan was subsequently arrested and conveyed to Killarney.
En route she was abusive to Garda Hennessy and called her an “ugly miserable c**t”. Ms O’Sullivan later apologised for the remark and said that she “had had a bad day” and had taken it out on the Gardaí.
In her direct evidence, Ms O’Sullivan said that she did not intend to drive and that she didn’t realise that “sitting the car waiting for a taxi was so bad”.
Judge Waters said he had concerns about raising this evidence as it had not been put to Garda Hennessey.
Defence solicitor Padraig O’Connell said that she was only giving evidence and could be cross-examined. Judge Waters said that a defence argument should be put to the prosecution but he allowed the evidence to be put to the court.
Judge Waters asked Ms O’Sullivan why she had not told the gardaí at the time that she was waiting for a taxi.
She said she had not done so as she felt everything going against her but that she had later told gardaí that she was waiting for a taxi when she realised the “seriousness” of it.
“You are now saying you did tell the gardaí when you said in direct evidence that you didn’t,” said Judge Waters.
He added that he believed that she had not rebutted the State’s case that she was intending to drive and he said he had “no doubt” that she intended todrive.
“She gave no evidence that she had told gardaí she was waiting for a taxi, only when she was pressed on it did she say she told gardaí,” he concluded.
Mr O’Connell appealed for ‘leniency’ for Ms O’Sullivan who is a mother of a four-year-old.
Grace O’Sullivan of Milleens, Bonane was convicted and fined €200 and disqualified from driving for three years for being in charge of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.