An Arigna man was convicted, fined and disqualified from driving for drunk driving after his defence failed at the April sitting of Boyle District Court.
Seamus Faughnan, 17 Cnoc An Tobair, Arigna, Co Roscommon was charged with drunk driving and failing to stop for a Garda at Aghafin, Keadue, Co Roscommon on April 24, 2009.
Gda Caitrina McGrath told the court that on the above date she was on mobile patrol at 9.10pm when she noticed a car driving erratically in front of her. She passed the vehicle out and pulled ahead and activated her blue lights for him to stop, she then noticed the car had stopped so she drove back and stopped alongside him, the driver then pulled off in the opposite direction. Gda McGrath turned the car around and followed it. She said it drove towards Drumshanbo, then Keadue and then into the car park of a public house.
She told the court when she went over to the driver he said “It is yourself.” She gave evidence saying Mr Faughnan staggered and had to hold on to the car door to stand up, she also said she smelled intoxicating liqour off his breath. He was arrested and brought to Carrick-on-Shannon Garda Station where he was observed for 20 minutes before taken to the doctors room by Gda Pauline Doherty. Gda McGrath said he failed to provide a breath sample so they called for a doctor to attend and a blood sample was taken.
She said the returned reading of the blood from the medical bureau was 229 mls of alcohol to 100mls of blood. Gda Pauline Doherty told the court she was operating the intoxiliser machine that night, she said Mr Faughnan gave an incomplete breath and she told him he could have another go but the machine gave an “ambient fail” reading. He was then told a blood/ urine sample could be taken. She said the defendant co-operated fully.
Defence solicitor Doireann N Riain made a submission to the court that 13A of the Road Traffic Act says a person arrested for drunk driving can be required “by a member of the gardai to” give either a breath or blood/ urine sample. “My client was required to two of the following: breath and blood,” she said, “the breath specimen was taken by Garda Doherty and Gda McGrath attended the blood requirement.”
Ms N Riain said she did not feel that the Gardai’s “power fettered from one to the other,” but that both requirements should have been attended by the same Garda. She asked the judge to dismiss the case. Judge Browne did find Ms Ni Riain’s point interesting but as it had no precedent, Judge Browne said her point “did not hold.”
He convicted, fined him w1,500 and disqualified Mr Faughnan from driving for three years for drunk driving. He also convicted and fined Mr Faughnan w250 for failing to stop for Gardai on the same date. Recognances were fixed