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Drink-drive cases adjourned after Irish-language legal claim

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Tests: Despite the emphasis on drink driving, only 7,697 people were prosecuted last year for being over the limit

Tests: Despite the emphasis on drink driving, only 7,697 people were prosecuted last year for being over the limit

PA

Tests: Despite the emphasis on drink driving, only 7,697 people were prosecuted last year for being over the limit

HUNDREDS of cases of alleged drink-driving have been adjourned in district courts over a legal challenge brought by a Romanian national who was not given details of a breath test in Irish.

Mihai Avandenei (28) had his case supported by a district judge who has now referred it to the High Court.

Fianna Fáil Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill is among hundreds of motorists awaiting the outcome of the case, which is due to be heard on June 26. The senator has not entered a plea yet.

Mr Avadenei was stopped at 12.50am on April 21 last year at Wolf Tone Quay in Dublin by Garda Francis McMahon, who alleged the motorist had been driving at 80kmh in a 50kmh zone. Suspecting Mr Avandenei of drink-driving, Gda McMahon arrested him and took him to Store Street Garda Station.

Although the Romanian national had a good command of the English language an interpreter was provided.

A subsequent breath test carried out by Gda Colm McCluskey gave a reading of 52 microgrammes of alcohol per 100ml of breath. The drink-drive limit is 22 microgrammes of alcohol per 100ml of breath.

Gda McCluskey and the accused driver both signed the computer print-out. Mr Avandenei - from Lioscianan, Swords, Co Dublin - was charged with drink-driving and released on bail.

He appeared before the Dublin District Court last July, where his solicitor Michael Staines argued his client should have been given a read-out of his breath test from the intoxlyser machine in both Irish and English.

Mr Staines said the print-out submitted to the court was not a duly completed statement within the meaning of the 2010 Road Traffic Act as it was only in English.

He submitted that the rules required it to be in both English and Irish and that the document was therefore not a duly completed statement and not admissible in evidence.

In a submission to the High Court, Judge Conal Gibbons said he sided with the accused on the case, but asked for a ruling from the higher court.

The Director of Public Prosecutions is challenging Judge Gibbons' ruling.

Irish Independent