Conviction for drink driving imposed despite ‘awkward’ evidence

“I find the evidence to be awkwardly given but I don’t find a knock-out blow.”

Conviction for drinking imposed despite ‘awkward’ evidence

Carrick-on-Shannon District Court.

Kevin Ward, Grange, Boyle was convicted of drink driving at last week’s sitting of Carrick-on-Shannon District Court with Judge Kevin P Kilrane noting: “I find the evidence to be awkwardly given but I don’t find a knock-out blow.”

Garda Mary Baldwin said she was on mobile patrol on September 3, 2018 when she observed a vehicle take a sharp turn down Quarry Lane, Boyle. She said she followed the vehicle and radioed for a registration check to be done on the vehicle. It emerged the vehicle was untaxed and Garda Baldwin stopped the car at Felton Road, Boyle.

A roadside breath test was subsequently conducted which produced a ‘fail’ result.

Under cross-examination, defending solicitor Dara Callaghan referred to Garda Baldwin’s statement and asked what section the defendant was charged under.

In reply Garda Baldwin said: “That was an error in my statement. I charged him under section four, sub-section four.” In her statement it said the defendant was charged under section four, sub-section two.

Mr Callaghan also referred to Garda Baldwin’s statement in relation to the level of alcohol that would have been permitted in Mr Ward’s breath. In her statement she said 9mg/100ml was the limit.

Under questioning from Mr Callaghan she said: “That is an error in my statement. It should have said 22mg/100ml for a non-specified driver.”

Garda Colm Stenson, who performed the breath test at Carrick-on-Shannon garda station said Mr Ward’s breath revealed an alcohol level of 51mg/100ml.

Applying for a direction Mr Callaghan said: “The benefit of the doubt must be afforded to the accused.”

Having heard the evidence Judge Kilrane said: “I find the evidence of the State, particularly Garda Baldwin, was awkward in the manner it was presented.”

Referring to the fact that the correct sections were recorded on the charge sheet Judge Kilrane pondered: “Is a simple typo in a garda statement enough to halt proceedings?”

Judge Kilrane imposed a conviction, a fine of €300 and disqualified Mr Ward from driving for a period of two years.

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