Wednesday 14 November 2018

Mum-of-one found drunk in crashed car with 'highly distressed' toddler in back seat - garda tells court

Blanchardstown Garda Station (Photo: Google Maps)
Blanchardstown Garda Station (Photo: Google Maps)

Andrew Phelan

A mother-of-one was found slumped drunk over the wheel of her crashed car with an open can beside her and her toddler crying and sweating in the back seat, a court has heard.

Investigating gardai at the scene in west Dublin found the accused woman (34) smelling of alcohol and slurring her speech while her two-year-old child was "highly distressed".

The woman tested more than four times the drink driving limit.

She is facing jury trial after Judge David McHugh decided that the case was too serious to be dealt with at district court level.

He adjourned the case at Blanchardstown District Court.

The accused, who cannot be named, is charged with being drunk in charge of a child under the age of 7, as well as being drunk in charge of a vehicle. She has not yet entered pleas.

Blanchardstown District Court heard the offences were alleged to have happened at Nangor Road, Clondalkin at 3.30pm on June 24 last.

Garda Ciaran Murray said the DPP had consented to the case being dealt with summarily in the district court.

Judge McHugh said it was a "very serious charge" and asked him to outline the allegations so he could consider whether to accept jurisdiction.

Gda Murray said he was on patrol when he saw a Seat Leon at the side of the road. It appeared to be crashed and there was smoke coming from the engine, he said.

He found the accused slouched over the steering wheel with an open "alcoholic beverage can" beside her. Her speech was slurred when she was spoken to and there was a smell of alcohol coming from her.

There was a two-year-old child in the back seat.

The accused was brought to a west Dublin garda station where a blood sample she provided had a reading of 219mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. The limit is 50mg.

Judge McHugh asked Gda Murray what the state of the child had been.

"Highly distressed," he replied, adding that the child was "crying and sweating in the back seat."

Judge McHugh refused jurisdiction to deal with the charges at district court level. He said he was adjourning the case for the DPP to consider the situation.

He remanded the defendant on continuing bail, to appear in court again on October 11.

She will be sent forward to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for trial when a book of evidence is ready.

Applying for free legal aid, defence solicitor Valerie Buckley said her client was working full time earning €500 per week and submitted a statement of her financial means.

She had one child whom she was supporting. The judge said he would "revisit" the issue of legal aid on another date.

The defendant did not speak during the brief hearing.

The offence of being drunk in charge of a vehicle - a drink driving offence - is under the Road Traffic Act. The offence of being drunk in charge of a child is contrary to Section 9 of the Summary Jurisdiction Act.

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