Drink-driv­ing dis­missed over date tech­ni­cal­ity

The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - NEWS - By SINEAD KELLE­HER

A MAN had a case of drink-driv­ing dis­missed in Ken­mare Dis­trict Court af­ter gar­daí failed to show ev­i­dence that he was driv­ing on Au­gust 23, the date of the sum­monses.

Judge Wa­ters said that he de­served to be “con­victed for his be­hav­iour” but that the date needed to have been cor­rect.

The court heard that Gar­daí in Ken­mare ob­served Stio­fan Ó Con­nach­taigh of An­tiduff, Bal­ly­haise, Ca­van, driv­ing on Henry Street at 11.45pm on Au­gust 22. He col­lected a num­ber of peo­ple and drove up Main Street and around the town, ac­cel­er­at­ing on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions. Gar­daí also ac­cel­er­ated and fol­lowed him out the Kil­lar­ney road to­wards Gor­ta­mullen. They ob­served him cross­ing the white line and de­cided to stop him, but in the mean­time he pulled into the fore­court of a petrol sta­tion, and they pulled in and spoke to him.

They got a smell of al­co­hol and asked for a breath sam­ple, which he failed, Gar­daí said.

At 12.03am he was ar­rested and brought to Kil­lar­ney Garda Sta­tion. He in­formed Gar­daí that it was his Con­sti­tu­tional right to pro­ceed in Ir­ish, and this was done “as best we could” Garda Caro­line Hen­nessy told the court.

She said that he was re­luc­tant to give his ad­dress and de­tails and that he also said he did not want to deal with the des­ig­nated doc­tor at the sta­tion as he was not “an Ir­ish na­tional”.

Garda Hen­nessy in­formed Mr Ó Con­nach­taigh of the penal­ties if he re­fused to give a sam­ple, and she in­formed him gar­daí were not obliged to pro­vide an Ir­ish doc­tor, just a des­ig­nated doc­tor. All this was done through an Ir­ish in­ter­preter, the court heard.

Garda Hen­nessy also told the court that Mr Ó Con­nach­taigh made the in­ter­preter un­com­fort­able be­cause he was able to iden­tify her by her voice over the phone. He was sub­se­quently charged with driv­ing with ex­cess al­co­hol at Gor­ta­mullen, Ken­mare, on Au­gust 23, 2017. De­fence solic­i­tor Padraig O’Con­nell raised con­cerns about the date with Judge David Wa­ters, who said that Garda had failed to show ev­i­dence of driv­ing on Au­gust 23, the date of the of­fence.

“The sum­monses should be the 22nd,”he said.

“You have to have sat­is­fied me be­yond doubt that he was driv­ing on 23rd. If you had prose­cuted him on the 22nd, you would have been fine.”

“The date must be right,” Judge Wa­ters ruled be­fore dis­miss­ing the case.

Judge Wa­ters added that Mr Ó Con­nach­taigh “be­haved ex­tremely badly” on the night in ques­tion but that the dif­fi­culty was there was no ev­i­dence that any driv­ing took place on Au­gust 23.

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