Drink-driving dismissed over date technicality
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.