Judge Seamus Hughes.
A man who appeared before Longford District Court last week charged under the Road Traffic act was convicted and fined €1,500 following a hearing into the matter.
Francis Sheridan, Aughakine, Aughnacliffe, Co Longford appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes charged with being drunk in charge of a vehicle and having no tax on the van at Aughakine, Aughnacliffe, on March 5, 2017.
Outlining the evidence to the court, Garda Glacken said that on the date in question at approximately 11pm in the Aughakine area of Aughnacliffe she came upon a single vehicle collision that involved a black Seat van that had crashed into the side of the road.
“I asked the driver if he was okay and noticed that the key was in the ignition,” she said, before pointing out to the court that the defendant subsequently provided her with his name and address.
“He also told me that he did not have his driving licence on him because he had applied for a replacement and was awaiting its arrival.”
Meanwhile, Judge Hughes heard that the defendant’s speech was slurred and there was a strong smell of alcohol coming from him.
“He admitted drinking and driving and stated, ‘I’m done’,” added Garda Glacken.
“He was arrested under the Road Traffic Act on suspicion of drink driving and taken to the Garda Station.
“The 20 minute observation period was conducted in the car by another garda while enroute to the station.”
The court then heard that the van was later seized because it hadn’t been taxed.
“The tax was out by four years,” the Garda said.
Judge Hughes then asked Garda Glacken if she was in a position to provide the court with the exact time that the accident occurred.
“This is the one aspect of the case that we need to confirm,” he added.
The court was told that the exact time could not be determined.
The defendant’s solicitor, Clionadh Sheridan meanwhile said this was a point that she had intended making as part of her mitigation.
She also pointed out to the court that the period of observation had been conducted in an inappropriate manner by taking place in the patrol car.
“The 20 minute observation period started off in the car and that was not appropriate,” she added, before pointing out that her client had also hit his head off the windscreen of the van when it crashed.
“His mother was called to the scene and she had expressed concerns about her son’s injury; she asked that he be looked after at the Garda Station, however he did not receive any medical attention there.
“The regulations have been breached because this particular section on the custody sheet hasn’t even been filled out.”
Meanwhile, Garda Glacken told the court that the defendant had neither sought nor received any medical attention while in custody.
Judge Hughes then said that he had no choice but to strike the drunk in charge matter out because the time of the accident could not be determined.
Meanwhile the Judge said that the tax issue was a major cause for concern for him.
“It’s the worst tax case I have ever seen,” he fumed, before pointing to the four year absence of same.
Addressing the defendant, Judge Hughes asked him if he was that mean of a person, and that tight, that he wouldn’t go an tax his vehicle.
“It was only on the road for a few months,” the defendant replied, before adding that he “didn’t get around to taxing” the vehicle in question.
During his deliberations on the matter, Judge Hughes said it was “absolutely unacceptable” for a person not to tax their car or van for four years.
“I will not tolerate this type of behaviour,” he fumed, before convicting the defendant and fining him €1,500 for non display of tax.