A 27 year old man accused of a drink driving offence after he pulled into a parking space a short distance from a Garda checkpoint, had his case dismissed last week after the prosecuting garda failed to give evidence that she had signed the print out of his breath test result.
Donal Boyle of Ard na Greine, Lis na Dara,Carrick Road, Dundalk had contested the case.
The Garda who arrested him told the court last Wednesday that she and her colleague were conducting the mandatory intoxicant checkpoint at 2.54am on July 9th 2019.
A Volkswagen Jetta approached and she claimed on seeing the checkpoint ‘immediately swerved into a parking spot’.
The driver exited the vehicle and on approaching him she said she immediately got a smell of alcohol off his breath and he was unsteady on his feet.
The Garda said she asked the defendant if he had been drinking and he replied “I have”.
Mr Boyle failed a roadside breath test and he was taken to Dundalk Garda Station where he gave a breath specimen that was allegedly over the legal limit and he was subsequently charged.
During his cross examination of the witness, the Defence barrister said the sergeant who was present at the checkpoint with her had said in his statement that the car pulled in suddenly to a parking space outside AIB about 20 metres from the checkpoint.
A young male who got out put his mobile phone to his ear and began to walk away and the sergeant said he drew the Garda’s attention to the car.
However, the witness replied “My attention was drawn to the vehicle as it approached”.
When the Defence counsel said the sergeant in his statement said the man had approached the ATM, the Garda said “he approached the front of the vehicle” which she said was at the cash machine.
The barrister pointed out the witness had not referred to two young women who were in the queue at the bank and in her own statement she had made no reference with regards to Mr Boyle’s consumption of alcohol.
The garda responded 'It’s in my contemporaneous notes in my notebook’ which she stressed were made at the scene.
The court heard that after the Evidenzer machine had printed out the reading of the breath test result at the garda station the defendant was asked to sign both, which he did.
However, the barrister said while he appreciated what was handed in the court ‘has a signature’ he said the garda has to by law sign both copies of that statement and he successfully argued that the court had not heard evidence “that the guard had signed the statement at all””.
Judge Eirinn McKiernan dismissed the case.
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