A 56 year old auctioneer who collided with another car that was waiting in a queue for the local McDonald's drive-thru, told gardaí he would fight a drink driving charge on the grounds that the Tesco Extra car park where he was arrested, is privately owned and is not a public place.
The contested hearing last Wednesday was also told that Lorcan Kirk with an address at Rockmount Gardens, Carrickmacross Road, Dundalk had accused the man whose car he had struck, of causing damage to his car.
The first witness gave evidence that he was driving his father's BMW, and was sitting in traffic waiting to go into McDonalds at 6.25pm on February 17th 2019, when another car steered into the back of him and continued driving into the Tesco Extra car park.
He followed the driver and confronted him and said the defendant had blamed him and accused him of hitting Mr. Kirk’s BMW.
The witness said the defendant seemed to be slurring his words as he shouted at him and was unsteady on his feet.
Another motorist who gave evidence of hearing “squeaking and scrapes” said the driver responsible didn't slow down and went 'very fast' into the car park.
The investigating garda gave evidence of finding Mr Kirk's BMW parked lopsided, not between the lines in the car park with a lot of damage to the driver's side.
He said there was a strong smell of alcohol off the defendant as he spoke to him and he was unsteady on his feet.
The defendant was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and failed a breath test at Dundalk Garda Station. When charged he replied “I'll contest it - that it is private property instead of public property in Tesco car park.”
The Defence barrister, in applying for a not guilty direction, argued that while his client admitted owning the car at the scene, he did not admit being the driver.
He also argued the 20 minute period of observation, to ensure nil by mouth before undergoing the breath test, should not have begun before his client had met the garda in charge of persons in custody.
The lawyer also claimed the reason given to his client for his arrest, which referenced the accident, was misleading but Judge Eirinn McKiernan found against all of these arguments and convicted Lorcan Kirk.
After hearing he had no previous convictions, the Judge imposed a €300 euro fine and a three year disqualification, which at the request of the Defence was postponed for six months.
Judge McKiernan also fixed recognizance of the defendant's own bond of €300, an independent surety of €300 or €300 in cash to be lodged in the event of an appeal.
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