A GARDA Detective Inspector who had a whiskey to "steady his nerves" after knocking down a young girl outside his Dublin home has been cleared of trying to frustrate a drunk driving prosecution.
Det Insp Paul O'Brien admitted drinking a measure and a half, insisting he did so because he was "shook up" following the accident in which he backed his patrol car over a four-year-old girl on a scooter. The girl became trapped under his rear wheel but was unhurt apart from bruising.
The case against him was dismissed after Dublin District Court heard the investigating garda initially saw no sign that Mr O'Brien had been drinking, only later noticing he was flushed and glassy-eyed.
The defence argued that because Mr O'Brien was not under suspicion of drink driving when the garda first spoke to him, he could not be guilty of trying to frustrate a prosecution by then having a drink.
Judge Bryan Smyth ruled that the accused had no case to answer.
Mr O'Brien, of Moyville, Rathfarhnam, had denied consuming alcohol with the intention of frustrating a drink driving prosecution on May 6, 2013.
The girl's parents, Tracy and David Kirwan, said they were visiting Mr Kirwan's father William, who lived nearby. They were outside as their daughter played on her scooter.
They heard a bang and saw her trapped under her scooter, which was under the rear left wheel of Mr O'Brien's car. They ran to her and Mr Kirwan lifted the car to relieve the pressure, while the accused moved forward to help free the girl.