Friday 23 March 2018

Lack of doctor's certifcate ruled a 'fatal flaw' in drink drive case

A JUDGE said he couldn't help but notice the smile on a man's face who had a charge of drink driving dismissed because the state had not handed in the doctor's certificate.

At a previous sitting of Mallow District Court, the case against Timothy O'Leary (50) of Park, Knocknagree was adjourned for legal argument on the distance and time it takes to drive from Newmarket to Mallow Garda Station.

Mr O'Leary was charged with drink driving at Scarteen Lower, Newmarket, on March 20, 2102. At a previoius sitting, Garda Mark Byrne said Mr O'Leary had failed a roadside breath test and had been brought to Mallow Garda Station, where a doctor had taken a blood test.

However, there was heated argument between solicitor Charlie O'Connor and Inspector Tony Sugrue on the time it took to drive from Newmarket to Mallow, an issue that could have had a critical influence because of the legal timeframe allowed in drink driving cases.

Inspector Sugrue said it took 23 minutes, whereas Mr O'Connor contended this was only possible if gardai were driving at Formula 1 speed.

However, at last week's sitting, Garda Dennehy gave evidence that he drove from Newmarket to Mallow in 18.5 minutes. Mr O'Connor said that, according to Google maps, the distance would take 29 minutes. Inspector Sugrue said, with a smile, that while the distance was now no longer the kernel of the legal argument before the court, he felt it was "vitally important" that, should another case grace the court doors, then he wanted it on record that the distance could be completed in 18.5 minutes.

However, Judge Brian Sheridan noted that as the relevant doctor's certificate was not produced in court it was a "fatal flaw" to the case. "I can't help but notice the smile on Mr O'Leary's face. As outlined, by not handing in the doctor's certificate is a fatal flaw to the case," said Judge Sheridan, and he dismissed the charge.