A young father convicted of drug driving will serve a one year driving ban following his conviction at Longford District Court.
Kevin Nevin (24) of Abbeyderg, Kenagh contested a charge of driving while under the influence of an intoxicant after he was stopped on January 30, 2020.
Garda Eamon Flanagan gave his evidence to the court by video link. On the date of the offence the officer was on mobile patrol at Ballymahon. At 10:50pm a car passed his location, as it did so the garda heard a loud grinding noise from the vehicle. As the car took a right turn the witness noted one of its brake lights was not working.
Garda Flanagan activated the blue light and the vehicle stopped at Drinan, Ballymahon. The Garda spoke to the driver who gave his name as Kevin Nevin. The officer noted that the tax was out and he informed the driver he had committed an offence. As he spoke to Mr Nevin he observed the defendant's eyes were bloodshot.
The driver said he was going to Kenagh after getting a pizza in Ballymahon. Garda Flanagan made the lawful demand for a sample of oral fluid. The road side test gave a positive reading for cannabis.
The defendant admitted smoking a joint earlier in the day and admitted having no insurance. At Longford Garda Station a nurse took a sample of blood and this returned a positive reading for cannabis.
Solicitor for the defendant made an application to the judge on two grounds. The first related to when the Garda made a request for the production of the insurance cert. He said this request was made when his client was already in custody and should have been given at the appropriate time, when Mr Nevin was at liberty, and not under arrest.
The solicitor's second submission related to the arrest for drug driving. He said there was nothing in Garda Flanagan's evidence that suggested his client was incapable of being in control of a vehicle. The legal representative pointed out that although the witness did say in evidence that Mr Nevin's eyes were bloodshot when he spoke to him, there was no note of it in his notebook: “Why is such a very important piece of evidence not documented?” he queried.
In her review of the solicitors submissions Judge Bernadette Owens said although the demand for the production of an insurance cert is generally made at the side of the road, there was nothing wrong with the procedure adopted by Garda Flanagan.
In respect of the submission on drug driving the judge pointed out that the road side test returned a positive result, adding: “While it is somewhat surprising that the detail was not in Garda Flanagan's notebook, however the Garda gave it in evidence without prompt.”
Judge Owens said the defendant had a case to answer on both charges. The solicitor said he would not be presenting any other evidence. The court was told the defendant had no previous convictions.
In mitigation, the judge was informed that the defendant is the father of a five month old child. His partner does not drive and the loss of his licence will be a significant hardship. The solicitor pointed out that Mr Nevin had an impeccable record up to this, and deeply regrets this incident. He was out of work at the time and fully cooperated with Gardaí.
Judge Owens accepted the defendant had a point to be explored in contesting the case. Taking the facts into consideration the judge imposed a fine of €400 for the drug driving and disqualified Mr Nevin from driving for one year. A fine of €250 was imposed for the no insurance charge.
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