Hogan's brother had about 15 pints before crash, court told
THE publican brother of Environment Minister Phil Hogan admitted to a garda he had drunk around 15 pints on the day he crashed his car and injured a passenger, a court heard.
Gardai attending the crash scene at Knocklow, just outside of Tullow, Co Carlow, on October 14 last year described how Paddy Hogan (51) was slurring his words, smelled of alcohol and was unsteady on his feet.
The publican was released from garda custody hours later after an intoxilyzer at the garda station delivered a reading of 'mouth alcohol'. A doctor did not arrive within the three-hour time limit to carry out a blood or urine test for alcohol.
Garda Finbarr O'Connor told a court that he had spoken to Mr Hogan, of The Hogan Stand, on Abbey Street, Tullow, a short time after the crash.
"Paddy told me he had been in the Crab Lane pub all day, probably had about 15 pints. He appeared unsteady on his feet," said Gda O'Connor, reading from his notes taken at the scene at around 7.45pm on the day in question.
Mr Hogan was before Baltinglass District Court yesterday, where he pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving and also being intoxicated and incapable of having control of a vehicle in a public place under Section 4 of the Road Traffic Act, 2010. He faces up to six months imprisonment and a four-year ban.
Martin Lawlor, defending, said there had been "systemic failures" in the system as the driver was "denied the opportunity" to give a blood or urine sample for analysis.
The solicitor argued a reading from an intoxilyzer at Baltinglass garda station delivered a reading 'mouth alcohol' – meaning the only alcohol present was in the mouth. Mr Lawlor said it was "astonishing" to hear an intoxilyzer reading was "not evidence".
Also, Mr Lawlor claimed the evidence given by Gda O'Connor on the quantity of alcohol listed in his notes should not be taken into account as Mr Hogan had not been cautioned.
Inspector Martin Walker said five gardai had witnessed Mr Hogan at the scene and described him as intoxicated.
Insp Walker said the 'mouth alcohol' reading was an indication of possible regurgitation of alcohol. Gda O'Connor told Judge David Kennedy that Mr Hogan "unsteady on his feet and there was a smell of alcohol off his breath".
But the garda said he was not in a "position to arrest the man" as they were only at the scene for a short time while they waited for the gardai from the jurisdiction. Garda Angela Togher told how she found passenger Sean Pender in an unconscious state, while Mr Hogan was "very intoxicated".
Investigating Garda Anthony Russell said he arrested and cautioned Mr Hogan at 8.43pm before transferring him to Baltinglass station, which was a 30-minute drive away.
The court heard Mr Hogan informed the custody officer at the station that he had last consumed alcohol two hours earlier. Gda Russell called an out-of-hours service doctor to get a blood or urine test taken. However, Gda Russell said it was not possible for him to provide the specimen within the three-hour period, after the doctors service rang at 10.10pm to say they were delayed. Mr Hogan was released at 10.45pm.
The court heard two witnesses – including a woman who had just given birth two weeks' ago – were not available.
The case continues.
By Louise Hogan