“I’m going to confine that type of defence to a much tighter scale now and in the future,” said Judge Kevin P Kilrane prior to convicting Alan Duffy of drink driving at last week’s sitting of Carrick-on-Shannon District Court.
Garda Stacey Lanigan gave evidence against Alan Duffy, Upper Main Street, Mohill saying she was on mobile patrol in Carrick-on-Shannon at 3.15am on April 8, 2018 when she observed a vehicle travelling from Main St to Summerhill “very quickly.”
The blue lights were activated but the vehicle did not stop until the siren was sounded at Aughameeny.
When the defendant got out of his vehicle Garda Lanigan noticed he was “unsteady on his feet” and got a smell of intoxicating liquor.
After a roadside breath test was conducted Mr Duffy was arrested at 3.20am at Aughameeney, Carrick-on-Shannon and conveyed to Carrick-on-Shannon garda station.
Under cross-examination from defending solicitor John McNulty, Garda Lanigan said she did not ask Mr Duffy if he was drinking.
Mr McNulty then asked: “Did he tell you he was coming from a hurling do and had two pints in The Swan and one in Murtagh’s?”
In reply Garda Lanigan said: “I have no note of that. I accept that it did happen.”
Mr McNulty argued in reply: “If you are made aware it is likely there was consumption of alcohol, you are obliged to wait 20 minutes before conducting the roadside test.”
Giving evidence, Sgt Ronan Murray, who was present in the patrol car with Garda Lanigan, said he introduced himself to Mr Duffy as a trained operator of the intoxilyzer machine and began a 20 minute period of observation at 3.33am. Mr Duffy complied with the demand to provide two samples of breath which revealed an alcohol level of 61mg/100ml.
Applying for a direction Mr McNulty said: “The conversations somebody has with somebody accused of drink driving are very important and should be recorded.
“There was no need to conduct the roadside test if she has enough evidence. She clearly did not follow the clear instructions and guidelines.”
In reply Insp Frank Finn said: “She had no time in relation to him having his last drink.”
Having heard the evidence Judge Kilrane said: “The strict technicalities that applied in the past do not always apply. In the old days we were all part of it, myself included, looking for a direction over a spelling mistake. In respect of what was said by Mr McNulty I am taking a much narrower view - it is an initial test only.
“It would create a quagmire of confusion. We would get down to minutes to when a person had a last drink in a pub.
“I’m going to confine that type of defence to a much tighter scale now and in the future. Garda Lanigan was entitled to administer the test.”
Judge Kilrane imposed a conviction, a fine of €300 and disqualified Mr Duffy from driving for two years. The disqualification was postponed until August 1.