Delay defence cuts no ice in drink-drive case
A GARDA prosecuting his first drink drive case secured a conviction in the face of cross-examination by a barrister who specialises in such matters.
Defendant Stephen Jeffers (24) of 56 Ard Alainn, Castlebridge, was accused by Garda Eamonn Cahill of being over the legal limit for alcohol at Clonard Little on February 7 last year.
A dangerous driving charge was also considered by the District Court sitting in Wexford where Garda Cahill gave evidence of what he observed while on patrol shortly after 3 a.m. on the date in question.
The vehicle driven by Stephen Jeffers came to his attention near the Killeen roundabout and the gardaí followed it as it cut the corner turning off the main road towards Clonard after failing to indicate.
The accused motorist failed a roadside breath test after pulling up and he later provided a urine sample to Doctor Stephen Bowe which showed, on analysis, a concentration of alcohol more than twice the legal limit.
Jeffers told the garda at the time that he was coming home from a family christening.
Defending barrister Martin Dully successfully argued that the evidence about cutting the corner was not sufficient to sustain a dangerous driving conviction.
However, his suggestion that the drink drive prosecution should fall because there was a delay in sending the urine sample to the laboratory at the Medical Bureau of Road Safety cut no ice with Judge Gerard Haughton.
Mr Dully told the court that disqualification would have serious consequences for someone who drives for a living but he accepted that his client knew on the night that he was over the limit.
A fine of €500 came with a bill for €250 costs and the mandatory three year loss of licence.