“Even in sobriety great care is needed. It is fortunate the Garda came upon her,” said Judge Kevin P Kilrane prior to convicting Diane Lynch, Ballybreen, Kilfenora, Co Clare of drink driving on April 7, 2017.
Giving evidence against Ms Lynch, Gda James Quigley said he was on mobile patrol on the night in question on the N4 at Drumsna, Carrick-on-Shannon when he observed a car driving in an unusual manner, travelling in the opposite direction to him.
He said the car was travelling slowly and appeared to be lost or breaking down.
Gda Quigley said he turned the patrol car around and activated the blue lights with the car stopping in the middle of the road.
Gda Quigley asked the motorist to pull into the side of the road where he spoke to the driver and got a strong smell of alcohol.
He formed the opinion the motorist had consumed an intoxicant to such an extent as to be incapable of operating a mechanically operated vehicle.
Ms Lynch told Gda Quigley she was unsure of where she was but was attempting to make her way to Roscommon.
A roadside breath test was conducted with a ‘fail’ recorded by the device.
Ms Lynch was said to be “very co-operative” and made no reply after caution. She was subsequently placed in the patrol car and conveyed to Carrick-on-Shannon Garda Station.
At 1.15am NoWDoc was contacted and at 1.30am Dr Mendez arrived with Ms Lynch given the option to provide a sample of urine or blood.
A sample of her blood was taken and was subsequently sent for analysis.
When the medical bureau returned the certificate of analysis it was revealed Ms Lynch’s blood had 270mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
Under cross-examination from defending solicitor Donal Keigher, Gda Quigley said, “She couldn’t explain exactly where she was or where she was going to. She said Roscommon but she couldn’t say exactly.”
Mr Keigher asked for a direction in relation to a number of matters relating to the case presented by the State.
Mr Keigher said in evidence Gda Quigley said he formed the opinion the defendant was unfit to drive but then asked her to move her vehicle to the side of the road.
Judge Kilrane referred to his notes of the evidence given by Gda Quigley and ruled that was not the evidence that he was given.
Judge Kilrane said the opinion was formed after the car had been parked on the side of the road.
Mr Keigher also argued that the defendant’s date of birth was incorrect on the custody record meaning she was not “sufficiently identified for the purpose of bureau analysis,” but Judge Kilrane again found against the defence.
Supt English also argued, “A date of birth can be mistaken or misheard,” and insisted it was not fatal to the case.
After a conviction was imposed Mr Keigher outlined the defendant’s circumstances saying she is in bad health and doing her best to get around.
He mentioned that Ms Lynch is a single woman and was on medication at the time of the offence.
Having heard the evidence Judge Kilrane noted, “The reading is very high. It is in excess of five times the limit. I’m told she was on medication. That coupled with alcohol, I don’t know what your client was thinking of.
“Even in sobriety great care is needed, it is fortunate the Garda came upon her.”
Judge Kilrane imposed a conviction and a fine of €200 “which in no way reflects the seriousness of the charge.”
Ms Lynch was also disqualified from driving for a period of three years. Recognisance in the event of an appeal were fixed at €400 cash.