Friday 6 December 2019

Garda error sees drink driving charge thrown out

Nicola Donnelly

A MAN charged with drink-driving had his case thrown out of court as the arresting garda relied on an incorrect section of the Road Traffic Act.

Michael Ryan (68) of Lissadell Wood in Malahide had pleaded not guilty at Swords District Court to drink driving on March 22nd, 2012 at Millview Road in Malahide.

Garda Michael Hession gave evidence that he was in a patrol car at 12.30am when a black Mercedes E Class car travelled in the opposite direction with full head lights on.

He said the driver of the car failed to dim his headlights causing him to stop the patrol car. He said he followed the car and activated the sirens and stopped Mr Ryan.

He said he spoke to the driver and could smell alcohol from his breath. He said Mr Ryan made two attempts to blow into a breathalyzer but was unable to provide a breath sample as he is asthmatic.

He said he brought Mr Ryan to the garda station and read out the contents of Section 18 of the Road Traffic Act 1994 and was given the choice to give a blood sample.

Defence counsel Martin Dully, BL, asked Gda Hession if he realised that Section 18 of the Road Traffic Act 1994 had been repealed for some time and had been replaced by Section 15 of the 2010 Road Traffic Act.

“You gave him no option to provide a urine sample and Mr Ryan will say he discussed with the doctor that he has a medical condition called Haemochromatois, which makes it difficult to find a vein,” Mr Dully.

He asked Gda Hession if he made any reference to the provisions of the appropriate Section 15 Act to which Gda Hession replied 'No' and admitted he confused the sections and made an error that it he should have referred to Section 15 of the Road Traffic Act.

Judge Dermot Dempsey commended Gda Hession on his honesty but said “it appears he did rely on the incorrect section” and dismissed the case.

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