Defence fails to convince judge that drink driving arrest was invalid
A Camolin man appeared before Judge Gerard Haughton at the District Court last week to contest a drink driving charge against him dating from September 21 of 2014.
Quarry operator Billy O’Leary (45) of Ballymore, Camolin, was charged with the offence at Ballynamony, Ballycanew.
Garda Catherine Keogh gave evidence that she, along with two other gardaí, had observed the defendant driving erratically and braking excessively before they pulled him over.
She said that when she talked to him, she got a smell of intoxicating liquor and observed that his eyes were glazed.
She formed an opinion that he was incapable of operating an MPV before he was cautioned, arrested and brought to Gorey Garda Station where he later returned a reading of 59mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath.
O’Leary’s barrister, Mr Martin Joseph Dully, asked Garda Keogh if she recalled a conversation with his client. She said that she had noted that he said that he had had three to four pints.
Mr Dully asked if this was on foot of a direct question from her and she said she couldn’t recall as it was back in 2014. Mr Dully maintained that if O’Leary had been asked if he had been drinking, he should have been cautioned first and that the arrest was therefore unlawful.
Judge Haughton said that, even if the garda had asked the question before caution, this was admissible in the formation of an opinion that the defendant was drunk and was not required to prove the case itself.
He said, therefore, that there was a case to answer. Mr Dully said that his client did not intend to enter the witness box, after which Judge Haughton opted to convict.
Mr Dully said that his client, a father of three, operated a quarry as his occupation and the loss of his licence would have a grave impact upon him. Taking everything into consideration, Judge Haughton handed down a €600 fine and a twoyear driving ban.