Conviction for drink driving overturned on appeal

A 23 year old man who was found with empty beer cans taped to his ankles when he was stopped by Gardai after he was caught driving on the wrong side of the road, has had a conviction for drink driving overturned on appeal at Dundalk Circuit Court.

A 23 year old man who was found with empty beer cans taped to his ankles when he was stopped by Gardai after he was caught driving on the wrong side of the road, has had a conviction for drink driving overturned on appeal at Dundalk Circuit Court.

His solicitor successfully argued that there was an unreasonable delay in the time it took for a doctor to take a urine specimen.

Colm Dardis of Clonfad, Kinnegad, County Westmeath was fined 250 euro and banned from driving for three years at Dundalk district court last September.

A Garda told an appeals hearing last Thursday that he was on mobile patrol on Hoey’s Lane in Dundalk on the 28th of October 2011, when he saw a Volkswagon Golf driving on the wrong side of the road at 3.30am. He said it pulled back onto the correct side of the road as he approached.

The appellant was pulled over on the Inner Relief Road and the court heard two empty beer cans were found taped to his ankles.

He was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving at 3.50am and the Garda explained that as he knew the intoxiliser machine was not working in the garda station he radioed ahead for the doctor on call, to be contacted.

The court heard the GP - who is normally based in Drogheda, didn’t arrive until 5.15am and Colm Dardis gave a urine sample that proved to be over the limit.

The Defence argued that there was no evidence of a reason being given for the delay. However, State solicitor for Louth Fergus Mullen argued that the sample was taken well within the three hour statutory limit.

Judge James O’Donohoe said it was a very long delay and he was allowing the appeal - but he added that was no criticism of the garda.