A TARBERT man has succeeded in having a drink driving charge dismissed after a judge ruled that gardaí had no power to randomly stop him when they had no grounds for doing so.
Judge Mary Larkin told Listowel District Court that stopping John Stack of Kilpadogue, Tarbert, without specific reason or suspicion was fatal to the State's case and she dismissed the charge against him.
Inspector Donal Ashe argued that gardaí were acting fully within their power to stop any individual without suspicion, but Judge Larkin disagreed.
Garda Caragh Kelly told the court that on November 21, 2011, she and Garda Martin Tierney were on patrol in Moyvane and stopped Mr Stack at 7.40pm at Leitrim Middle. She said that on speaking to Mr Stack she noticed a smell of alcohol and asked him to provide a breath sample, which showed a positive result. The man was conveyed to Listowel Garda Station and a subsequent urine sample returned a reading of 196mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine - almost twice the legal limit of 107mg.
Mr Stack's solicitor Charlie O'Connor argued in court that the man's arrest was not lawful as gardaí had absolutely no reason to stop him and he had not aroused their suspicion in any way before being stopped.
Despite counter arguments from Inspector Ashe, Judge Larkin agreed with the defence and said ' there had to be reasonable suspicion' or a mandatory check point in operation in order to lawfully stop the accused.