'DNA test will prove I was not driving'

Marisa Reidy

A NORTH Kerry woman charged with drink driving insisted in court that she was not the person driving the car, and even volunteered to send the sample taken on the night for DNA profiling to prove it.

Bernadine Flanagan from Doonard, Doon Road Ballybunion, insisted that she was not the person arrested on May 17, 2012, despite the evidence of two gardai who said it was she they processed and dealt with during the entire procedure.

Ms Flanagan's solicitor, Pat Enright, said that his client was adamant that she was not the driver on the night and that the State had not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that she was, as the driver arrested had given another name.

He said that his client had produced a letter from an eye clinic in Dublin, proving she was in the capital on the day in question and this should have been investigated properly by the gardai. He also added that it was impossible for the arresting garda and member in charge to be 100 per cent sure that his client was the person they processed on the night, given that the offence was over a year old.

Mr Enright said that there simply had to be some element of doubt in the case, adding that Ms Flanagan was willing to undergo DNA profiling to prove her innocence.

"She has volunteered to undergo this test to establish without doubt that she isn't the person from whom the sample was taken," he said. "In this instance the court cannot conclude this case and say she is definitely the person driving when there is a significant level of doubt."

Judge Mary Larkin, however, said she was satisfied that Ms Flanagan was the person dealt with by the gardai and disqualified her from driving for one year. Charges of giving a false name, address and date of birth were taken into consideration.

At the request of Mr Enright, recognisance was set in the event of an appeal on the defendant's own bond of €500.


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