Longford man who 'wanted to play music in car' is banned from driving for four years

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Judge Seamus Hughes

Judge Seamus Hughes banned a Longford man from driving for four years last week

A Longford man who had to be forcibly removed from his car after allegedly being spotted “driving erratically” in the county town earlier this year has been banned from driving for four years.

 

Andrew Doyle (40), 5 Congress Terrace, Longford pleaded not guilty to failing to comply with providing two breath specimens at Longford Garda Station on June 21 2020.

That came after Mr Doyle had been arrested on suspicion of drink driving.

Garda Karl Foley said he and colleague, Garda Vincent O'Leary had been on patrol shortly before 9:30pm when the pair received a report of a grey coloured Audi A3 “driving erratically” in Longford town.

Less than ten minutes after the initial correspondence was received, Garda Foley said a second report was received.

A short time later, the two officers came across the vehicle parked at Congress Terrace with the defendant sitting in the front driver's seat.

Garda Foley said, as he approached the vehicle, he noticed Mr Doyle and his wife engaged in an argument.

After speaking to Mr Doyle, Garda Foley said his wife could be seen pleading with her husband to hand over the keys to the car.

It was at that stage the garda revealed Mr Doyle's wife told of the concerns she harboured for her husband's welfare and state of mind.

During his discussions with Mr Doyle, Garda Foley said he noticed an empty naggin of alcohol in the front side of the driver's door.

Garda Foley said he soon noticed how Mr Doyle's speech was slurred and could detect a strong sense of alcohol from his breath.

In his attempts to arrest Mr Doyle on suspicion of drink driving, Garda Foley said the accused declined, saying: “I'm not going anywhere, I'm staying here. I'm going to listen to my music.”

The court was informed it took both officers, together with a third rank and file member to remove Mr Doyle from the vehicle before he was brought to Longford Garda Station.

After Mr Doyle failed to produce an adequate breath reading following his arrest, Garda Foley said he was charged and released from custody.

In defence, solicitor John Quinn said while his client's keys were in the car's ignition, there was no evidence to suggest he was in charge of the vehicle.

“He wasn't driving and all he said he was going to do was listen to the radio,” he put it to Garda Foley in cross examination.

Mr Quinn also alleged Mr Doyle's wife had told the prosecuting garda that the defendant had only just been released from hospital owing to the fact he was a serious diabetic.

It was a charge Garda Foley denied.

Similar questions over why a doctor never arrived and whether Mr Doyle's request to engage a solicitor was heeded despite its alleged absence from custody records.

“I can't answer that,” said Garda Foley.

The garda, however, revealed Mr Doyle made no admissions to him over any difficulties he may or may not have had in providing two breath samples despite his medical history.

Garda Foley said had he intimated those concerns to him he would have sought samples of either blood or urine as an alternative.

Sgt Sean Trowell, who was the member in charge at the station when processing Mr Doyle said he made no request to see a solicitor and admitted he had been drinking spirits earlier that evening.

“He did make me aware he had got out of hospital recently and was taking four insulin injections a day but didn't ask for medical assistance,” said Sgt Trowell.

In taking the stand, Mr Doyle claimed he was not driving at all that evening.

“I just wanted to play a bit of music in my car,” he said.

“I said I was playing a bit of music, I was doing no harm.”

Mr Doyle also accused Garda Foley of fabricating the truth and was adamant in his insistence he informed gardaí of his difficulties in complying with their requests to provide breath specimens.

“On that Bible there, I told him,” he said.

“Everything he (Garda Foley) is saying is lies. My chest was in bits. I said I probably wouldn't be able because my chest was very bad as I was only out of hospital the last few days.”

Mr Doyle continued his defence by revealing how he had been suffering from depression at the time and maintained his treatment by gardaí was unfair.

“I never asked for blood or urine (samples) because I thought they (gardaí) would ask me. He kept me in the station for hours and I was as weak as water,” he said.

Mr Doyle's wife, Deborah who revealed she had been been told to follow them up to the station before later being told to return home after being informed a doctor was en route.

Judge Hughes, however, contended the actions of Mr Doyle on the night were evidence enough of his culpability.

“The bottom line is you weren't in a very cooperative mood that night,” he told Mr Doyle.

“You refused to get out of the car and you refused to give a breath sample.”

Judge Hughes ultimately banned Mr Doyle from driving for four years and fined him €250.

Recognisances were fixed at €500 in the event of an appeal.