A 61-year-old man was disqualified from driving for two years after he was convicted of dangerous driving but escaped a drink driving charge on a technicality.
John Boyle of Crimlin, Brickens, Claremorris appeared before last week’s sitting of Belmullet Court where he was charged with drink driving and dangerous driving after he was arrested at Treeanravagh, Brickens, Claremorris on March 8, 2010.
The court heard he was stopped by gardaí after they noticed that his windscreen was frosted over while he was driving at 11.30pm. Garda Nicola Dolan said she observed his car swerving over and back on the road and he almost hit a wall before driving on a lawn before coming to a stop.
Garda Dolan explained that while speaking to him she noticed his speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. He was arrested for drink driving and a subsequent blood sample revealed an alcohol concentration of 241mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
Charlie Gilmartin, solicitor for Mr Boyle raised concerns regarding the statements made by Garda Dolan and two of her colleagues regarding what occurred on the night. He said the three statements were identical and said this stretched credibility and this was not just a coincidence. Garda Dolan accepted they were similar but it was what the three gardaí saw on the night.
Mr Gilmartin sought a dismissal saying that the statements were identical and they were not a fair way to go around a prosecution. He said if three alibi witnesses in a criminal trial had produced similar statements they would be given ‘short shrift’ and felt a prosecution was no different.
Judge Denis McLoughlin disagreed saying that the statements are not evidence and the only evidence given was oral evidence. However, he did agree with Mr Gilmartin that evidence given by Garda Dolan in relation to the procedure of the taking of blood was not followed correctly and dismissed the charge of drink driving as a result.
Mr Gilmartin also argued that there was no evidence of dangerous driving because the night was cold and frosty and the car might have skidded but Judge McLoughlin convicted Mr Boyle of dangerous driving.
Mr Gilmartin said his client was a bachelor farmer who need his licence for his farm and asked him to be lenient.
Judge McLoughlin fined Mr Boyle €300 and disqualified him from driving for two years but postponed the disqualification until October 1.