Anyone who drives with in excess of four times the legal limit has to understand that mitigation is limited, said Judge Kevin Kilrane at Carrick-on-Shannon District Court.
Appearing in court on March 26 last was Darren Conway, 26 Shannon Grove, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim charged with driving with excess alcohol in his blood on June 17, 2019 at Park Lane, Carrick-on-Shannon.
Garda Patrick McAndrew gave evidence of stopping the defendant on that date at Park Lane, Carrick-on-Shannon, just past the entrance to the Fire Station.
He said he noted Mr Conway’s car swerving over both lanes of the road at 2.15am on that date. He spoke with him and got a strong smell of alcohol off his breath, his eyes were glazed and he was unsteady on his feet.
Garda McAndrew formed his opinion and arrested the defendant and brought him to Carrick-on-Shannon Garda Station.
He said the defendant opted to give a sample of blood and when he was introduced to the doctor at 3.17am he began shouting but then calmed down and gave the sample.
He said he placed the two specimens on the table and offered one to Mr Conway and he retained one.
Garda McAndrew subsequently received a certificate from the Medical Bureau that showed a concentration of 213 mgs of alcohol per 100 mls of blood.
Martin Burke, solicitor, pointed out that the place of arrest was Priest’s Lane and not Park Lane.
Judge Kevin Kilrane, however, said he would not take that point and said there must be a degree of reality. “Priests Lane is within shouting distance of Park Lane,” he said.
Mr Burke put it to Garda McAndrew that Mr Conway would say he was asked which sample did he want analysed.
Garda McAndrew said no, he asked him which one he wanted for himself. Mr Burke said Mr Conway would say he didn’t take any sample.
Darren Conway told the court the garda asked him which sample did he want analysed. He said the garda didn’t offer him one to take and he didn’t leave the station with any sample.
He said his recollection was good, it was the night of the Connacht Final which Galway lost to Roscommon.
Insp Emmet Treacy put it to him that he was more than four times the legal limit yet he recalled not being offered a sample.
Mr Conway said alcohol didn’t affect his memory.
Insp Treacy put it to him he was offered one. Mr Conway said no, he left with his phone, a black key and his wallet.
Judge Kilrane said the reading was 213 and the limit is 50. He said he had a perfect memory of the night in question but must be the only person who could have a perfect memory with a reading of 213.
He said amnesia is part and parcel of intoxication and the more alcohol that is consumed the more the memory fails.
He said Mr Conway was wrong on every point and it didn’t matter whether he was stopped in Priest’s Lane or Park Lane, they are contiguous streets.
Judge Kilrane also said his memory was clearly affected regarding events in the garda station. He said the issue was “getting into semantics.”
Mr Burke said his client was 46 and has four young children. He drives for a living but is not currently working.
Judge Kilrane said that anyone driving with in excess of four times the legal limit has to understand, in a contested case, that mitigation is limited.
He said in many courts throughout the country the fines imposed for this type of offence are multiples of what he imposes.
He convicted and fined him €500, allowing four months to pay and disqualified him for three years, from September 1 next.
Mr Conway gave an undertaking not to drink and drive. He said he has learned his lesson and has not taken a drink in a long time.
He said his father passed away two weeks ago and he turned to drink when his mother died two years previously and that was what put him in the position he found himself in.
Recognisances were fixed in the event of an appeal.