16 Aug 2022

Longford man's drink driving charge dismissed over timing of 'toilet break'

Longford man's drink driving charge dismissed over timing of  'toilet break'

Longford man's drink driving charge dismissed over timing of 'toilet break'

Judge Kevin Kilrane dismissed a contested drink driving case after considering the evidence for one week to ponder over the “fine point” made by the defence about a toilet break for the accused during the alcohol breath test procedure.

Enda Killian, Lismoy, Newtownforbes, Co Longford was charged with drink driving and careless driving at Townparks, Carrick-on- Shannon on December 12, 2020.

At the earlier court sitting Garda Tom Currid told the court he was on duty with Garda Jimmy Stenson at 00.07 on the above date when they observed a vehicle pull out in front of them at the clock, Bridge St, Carrick-on-Shannon “with no lights on and windows fogged up.”

He said he saw the car swaying and that it “narrowly missed a parked car.”

He also said at the roundabout at Coffey's it just “missed the island.”

When the car stopped and Gda Currid spoke to the driver he smelled alcohol and noticed he had slurred speech and glassy eyes.

Mr Killian was arrested on suspicion of drink driving. Garda Currid said the man’s partner was also in the car but that was part of a separate case.

The intoxilyser breath test in the station revealed Mr Killian had 65mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath.

Gda Currid said he signed both receipts and Mr Killian went to the bathroom before he signed the print outs also.

Solicitor John McNulty said from his viewing of the CCTV the car did not sway and did not narrowly miss a parked car.
He asked the garda why he waited so long to signal the car pull over. The garda said it was not safe to do so until the road widened.

Mr McNulty queried Garda Currid’s actions in relation to his client’s partner the following day. Gda Currid said it was not relevant to this case. Judge Kilrane also ruled that “unless you can show a problem before the night” the point was irrelevant to this case.

Gda Jimmy Stenson gave evidence saying, when they stopped the car the driver “knew me” but he didn’t realise who it was until he saw the details from the driver's licence. Garda Stenson said he worked with the defendant’s ex-wife.

He added he is 20 years a garda in this district and “a lot of people know me.”

Garda Stenson said they had a better view of the driving than the CCTV can capture.

Mr McNulty said that the statements from the intoxilyser need to be supplied “immediately” and this was not done in this case.

Judge Kilrane and the inspector agreed they did not see the driver almost hit another car from the CCTV. The judge said the “incident at the clock entitled gardai to take interest but doesn’t amount to careless driving” and he dismissed the charge of careless driving.

Judge Kilrane pondered the issue of the toilet break given to the defendant at the point when his signature was required immediately.

He said it was a “fine point” and queried if it was “too fine.”

He deferred judgement to Tuesday's sitting of Carrick-on-Shannon District Court where he  said the words "shall" and "immediately" must be complied with. He dismissed both the charges.

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