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Arrest of drunk man in car 'not unlawful'

THE arrest of a man for drink driving instead of being "drunk in charge" of a car did not make the arrest unlawful because it was a genuine mistake by a garda, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday.

The court was deciding legal issues arising from the arrest of Gerard O'Neill while seated in his car with the engine running in the middle of the Wexford Road in Arklow at 11.42pm on September 30, 2005.

Mr O'Neill, of Glenaur, Adamstown, Co Wexford, was arrested under Section 50.10 of the Road Traffic Act (RTA), which relates to "drink driving", rather than Section 49, which relates to "drunk in charge" of a vehicle.

The arrest was bona fide and the garda's opinion that Mr O'Neill was attempting to drive and was unfit to drive due to the consumption of alcohol was reasonable, Ms Justice Susan Denham said.

The High Court had found the arrest was unlawful but the DPP appealed that finding.

Irish Independent