Jodie scoots off without ban in drink drive case
Published 01/04/2011 | 05:00
A MAN caught drink driving his scooter made legal history after his case was dismissed because his vehicle was only "mechanically assisted".
Jodie O'Dwyer (43), of Larchfield in Kilkenny city, was stopped by gardai for "weaving" on his "pedal" scooter while under the influence of alcohol and charged with drink driving in the city at Hawthorn Avenue, Loughboy, on July 5, 2010.
However, Judge William Harnett threw out the case at KIlkenny District Court earlier this week on the grounds that the scooter was a "mechanically assisted" and not "mechanically propelled" vehicle.
Defence solicitor Michael Lanigan said the case should be dismissed on the grounds that the vehicle in question was not covered under the legislation and that therefore no offence had been committed.
A garda witness told the court that at 4.48pm on the date he observed a man driving on a scooter on the Waterford Road.
The man, who was not wearing a helmet, was in the bicycle lane when he turned on to Nunico Road and then on to Hawthorn Avenue.
A garda, who was in an unmarked patrol car, told the court that Mr O'Dwyer was "leaning from side to side" on the bicycle.
"I activated the blue lights and sirens and when the defendant got off the bike I noticed that there was no registration number on it," he said.
When speaking to Mr O'Dwyer, the garda said his "eyes were glazed".
A breath sample later revealed Mr O'Dwyer was twice the legal limit -- with a reading of 73mgs over 100.
Judge Harnett said Mr O'Dwyer "should have being charged with a different offence in relation to a bicycle".
Speaking outside court, Mr O'Dwyer said: " Once you build up the speed by pedalling to 15 miles per hour it runs by itself on a battery until you brake.
"You don't need tax or insurance and you don't have to pay for petrol. It's a great way to get around."
Solicitor Michael Lanigan described how the case was a landmark ruling and he hadn't come across such a case before in the country.