Thursday 8 December 2016

Former Dublin GAA star Senan Connell has drink driving case against him struck out

Andrew Phelan

Published 13/11/2015 | 11:57

Former Dublin Footballer Senan Connell arriving at CCJ. Parkgate Street, Dublin.
Former Dublin Footballer Senan Connell arriving at CCJ. Parkgate Street, Dublin.

FORMER Dublin GAA star Senan Connell has had a drink driving prosecution against him struck out by a court.

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Connell (41), had been charged with driving his car while over the alcohol limit in an incident in north Dublin in September.

He had denied the charge and was in court and due to contest the case today.

At Dublin District Court, Judge John Brennan struck the charge out because of delays in prosecuting the case.

Gardai had sought an adjournment pending the outcome of a Supreme Court challenge by the DPP to a High Court ruling that alcohol breath tests must be in the Irish language as well as in English.

However, the judge refused to adjourn it.

Connell (41), who played for the Dublin football team between 1998 and 2006 did not address the court during the brief hearing.

When the case was called, Garda Daniel Rafter made an application for a remand because of the Supreme Court case.

Defence solicitor Jonathan Antoniotti said he was seeking a strike out in the case and opposing the application.

The judge said he was agreeing to strike the charge out because "in the circumstances, because the defendant is here to meet the case and the State is not in a position to proceed".

The judge said he was doing this "in light of the Romanian decision," referring to the case before the Supreme Court.

He also said drink driving was a summary charge - one that is dealt with only at district court level.

Wearing a grey suit, white shirt and grey tie, Connell came forward when his case was called and left the court when the proceedings were finished.

Connell, with an address at Bealing Grove,Tyrellstown in west Dublin, had been charged with one count of drink driving.

It was his second court appearance on the charge, which is under Section 4 of the Road Traffic Act.

The offence had been alleged to have taken place at Finglas Road on September 21 last, following the celebrations of Dublin's victory over Kerry in the All-Ireland final.

The former inter-county player and GAA pundit who regularly appears on TV and radio expert panels, had entered a not guilty plea to the charge on the previous date.

The DPP is appealing a ruling by the High Court in September which found alcohol breath tests must be supplied in English and Irish.

The issue arose earlier this year during the prosecution of Mihai Avandenei, 29, from Lioscian, Swords for a drink-driving offence.

When he appeared before the District Court, Mr Avandenei's  lawyers argued that he should have been given a read-out of his breath test from the intoxilyser machine in both Irish and English.

Mr Connell works as a teacher in Cabra.

He regularly appears on an expert panel on Sky Sports GAA coverage, Today FM’s Last Word and Setanta football. Connell also writes for newspapers.

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