Man in ditch af­ter crash avoids drink drive con­vic­tion

Wexford People - - NEWS -

A VAN owner found ly­ing in the road near his crashed van es­caped a drink drive con­vic­tion when the cir­cum­stances were con­sid­ered at Wex­ford District Court.

Steven Mur­ray (38) from Hares­mead, Foulksmills, proved to have more than four times the le­gal limit for al­co­hol in his sys­tem on the night in ques­tion.

He was found ly­ing in a ditch at Foulksmills in the early hours of Septem­ber 25 last year in an in­tox­i­cated con­di­tion, with his head out on the pub­lic road.

How­ever, the pros­e­cu­tion was dis­missed by Judge Ger­ard Haughton as the ev­i­dence failed to pin­point the time at which the de­fen­dant was driv­ing.

The crash woke lo­cal res­i­dent Michael Sin­nott, who at­tended court to re­call how he heard a loud bang and looked out from his bed­room.

He saw a man get­ting out of the stricken van, which had come to a halt on the road op­po­site to the house af­ter hit­ting a wall. The man ap­peared to be ‘a bit dis­ori­ented’ be­fore he got back be­hind the wheel but the van would not start.

He re-emerged and walked down the road.

The watch­ing house­holder called the gar­daí who ar­rived at the scene and ex­am­ined the crashed Long­ford-reg­is­tered Ford Tran­sit. It was reg­is­tered to Steven Mur­ray of Hares­mead and it turned out that he was not far away.

Garda Tanya Keat­ing gave ev­i­dence of how he was dis­cov­ered in the ditch.

He was ex­tremely in­tox­i­cated, she re­called, giv­ing off a strong smell of al­co­hol.

He had dif­fi­culty speak­ing but was able to tell her that he had been driv­ing the Tran­sit.

He was ar­rested and brought to the bar­racks in New Ross where his breath sam­ple gave a read­ing of 95 mgs.

The le­gal limit is 22 mgs. The test was con­ducted by Garda Sergeant Richard Daly who re­ported that the sus­pect re­fused to sign the cer­tifi­cate which was printed off by the ev­i­den­zer.

De­fend­ing bar­ris­ter David Staunton, in­structed by solic­i­tor Gerry Flynn, ac­cepted that his client was clearly and de­mon­stra­bly in­tox­i­cated on the night.

Coun­sel suc­cess­fully ar­gued that there was a doubt over the time of driv­ing.

How­ever, Haughton con­victed Mur­ray, who works in re­new­able en­ergy at sites all over the coun­try of fail­ing to sign the cer­tifi­cate, hand­ing down a fine of €400.

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