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24/07/2021

Ballymahon drink driving case dismissed because 'timeline was too fine'

Ballymahon drink driving case dismissed because 'timeline was too fine'

A man charged with drink driving has had his case dismissed by Judge Seamus Hughes because “the timeline was too fine”.

Adam Duffy, 1 Millfield Crescent, Buncrana, Co Donegal, appeared at last week’s sitting of Longford District Court charged with drink driving on March 10, 2019.

Giving evidence, Gda Eamonn Fitzpatrick of Ballymahon Garda Station explained that a number of calls were received regarding a blue Ford Focus driving in a dangerous manner on the Edgeworthstown Road towards Ballymahon.

“I immediately left the station to patrol and observed the vehicle coming onto Main Street Ballymahon from the Edgeworthstown road,” said Gda Fitzpatrick.

“He was driving from side to side and crossed over onto the wrong side of the road at one stage. He parked on Main Street and I approached the driver’s side of the car and spoke to him.

“He produced his licence. I noticed a strong smell of intoxicating liquor emanating from his breath. His eyes were bloodshot and his speech was slurred. I informed him that I was arresting him for drink driving.”

At 4.10pm, Gda Fitzpatrick arrested the accused and conveyed him to Longford Garda Station where, at 4.35pm, he was introduced to the member in charge, Gda Brendan Burke, who completed a custody record.

Due to an issue with the station’s intoxilyzer, Gda Fitzpatrick explained that Midoc needed to be contacted to request a doctor attend the station.

“At 5.36pm, I contacted Midoc to request a doctor to obtain a urine and a blood sample,” said Gda Fitzpatrick.

“At 6.50pm, I contacted them again. At 6.55pm, a doctor attended the station and I introduced Mr Duffy to the doctor. The doctor explained the procedure in my presence. He provided a blood sample which had a reading of 149mg per 100ml of blood.

Solicitor for the defence, Owen Carty, when questioning Gda Fitzpatrick noted that the arrest had taken place at 4.10pm but that no time of driving had been mentioned.

“He was driving between 4pm and 4.10pm,” said Gda Fitzpatrick.

“Then there was an issue with the intoxilyzer machine - it wouldn’t work. So you called Midoc,” said Mr Carty.

“Yes, at 5.30pm, I contacted Midoc. The doctor arrived at 6.55pm,” said Gda Fitzpatrick.

“So five or six minutes before the three hours were up. What happened at five to seven, with six minutes to go?” asked Mr Carty.

“When the doctor arrived, the prisoner was brought to the doctor’s room for a blood or urine sample. The doctor went straight to the doctor’s room. I escorted the prisoner to the doctor’s suite,” said Gda Fitzpatrick.

“I made the demand to get the sample and the doctor explained the procedure in my presence. I explained that he would be committing an offence if he didn’t provide a sample. The sample was taken.”

“He must be some doctor to arrive at 6.55pm and do all of that in five minutes. Are you sure your times are right?” said Mr Carty.

Gda Fitzpatrick admitted that he wasn’t 100% sure on the time of driving.

“We’re skirting with seconds,” said Judge Hughes.

“I have to compliment the guard on the way he gave his evidence. It was very clear evidence. The circumstances would require a two-year disqualification.

“We’re talking one or two or three minutes. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt because the timeline was too fine. Your driving was appalling and I wish I could have disqualified you. But I have to dismiss it,” he concluded.

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