01 Jul 2022

Half-full bottle of beer found on passenger seat, Dundalk court told

Half-full bottle of beer found on passenger seat, Dundalk court told

Dundalk courthouse

A Garda told Dundalk district court last week that he was forced to brake to avoid colliding with a BMW driven in the town centre, and when he went to speak to the driver he found a half-full bottle of beer on the passenger seat.

Paul Murphy (42) with an address at Cranny Road, Mullaghbawn, Newry had contested a number of charges arising out of the incident at The Demesne, Dundalk on December 8th 2019.

The Garda gave evidence that he had been on mobile patrol on the Magnet Road around 3am, when a BMW 520 driving from the Demesne direction, exited at the junction forcing him to brake to avoid a collision.

When he spoke to the driver, he said the defendant was 'glassy eyed' and his speech was slurred and there was a half full bottle of Corona beer on the passenger seat.

The witness said he had to lean in the window of the BMW to open the door and although Mr. Murphy had initially cooperated after being informed he was being arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, halfway across the road he claimed he tried to break free and a 'soft contact technique' was used to put him on the ground to handcuff him.

The Defence barrister during cross examination, questioned why the garda had written over the time recorded in his notebook for when he had first observed his client and the officer explained he had realised he had noted the wrong time and that it had been earlier.

He later admitted writing the time of arrest on his hand and writing it in his note book at the garda station and explained that he was not in a position to note the exact time of observation as he had been driving at the time and taking evasive action.

Judge Alan Mitchell later told the garda as homework to re-read the Judges Rules and he also advised him to in future draw a line through any such amendments in his notebook and initial them.

The court also heard from a Sergeant who is trained to operate the breath test machine at Dundalk Garda Station, who said the defendant had made three attempts but failed to provide a second breath specimen that was required in order to issue a print out of the overall result.

A doctor was called to take a blood or urine specimen, and the accused refused to provide a blood sample.

Judge Mitchell imposed a €100 fine and four year disqualification for that offence and a two year driving ban and a €50 fine for driving without insurance.

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