Judge rejects claim of prejudice in drink driving case at Carrick-on-Shannon District Court

Judge rejects claim of prejudice in drink driving case at Carrick-on-Shannon District Court

Carrick-on-Shannon Courthouse

Cariosa Bolger, Drumgildra, Drumsna, Carrick-on-Shannon was convicted of drink driving at Drumsna, Carrick-on-Shannon on November 14, 2017, fined €200 and disqualified from driving for a period of two years when she appeared before a recent sitting of Carrick-on-Shannon District Court.

At a previous sitting of the case, it was argued by defending solicitor, John McNulty, that the defendant’s case was prejudiced as Gda Albert McHale, who performed the breath test did not specify to the defendant whether the test was being conducted at the higher or lower level for a specified or unspecified driver.

Addressing the Court Insp Dennis Harrington said there was no prejudice against the defendant and Gda McHale had recorded the defendant’s driver’s licence number.

Insp Harrington said the breath test machine was “Set at the highest level.”

When asked by Judge Kevin P Kilrane, “what level was it set at?”, Insp Harrington replied, “I accept that wasn’t said.”

Addressing the court Judge Kilrane said, “Higher Courts have emphasised the entire fairness of process.”

Judge Kilrane continued, “The evidence of the Garda was that the defendant had a full licence.”

Judge Kilrane explained the process carried out by Gardaí after a motorist is stopped at a checkpoint. After the driver is asked for a driver’s licence, the Garda then adjusts the setting on the breath test machine accordingly.

If the driver has a full licence, the machine is set at the highest level. If a learner permit or no licence is produced, the machine is set to the lower level.

Judge Kilrane remarked, “It is unfair to penalise the prosecution.

“The Garda was not cross-examined or asked questions about that sequency.”

Judge Kilrane ruled that the defendant had a case to meet but Mr McNulty said no evidence would be offered.

The Court heard Ms Bolger’s breath revealed an alcohol level of 63mg/100ml.

The driving disqualification will come into effect from May 20.

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