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25-year-old’s relationship broke up after his arrest on night out in Dundalk

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A man has told the court that his then girlfriend ended their relationship after he asked her to come and collect him following a night out in Dundalk and she had been unable to find him because he had been arrested.

Jamie Hackett (25), Mornington Way, Trim, Co. Meath, was giving evidence as he contested a charge of being drunk in charge of a car.

He also said he had asked the lady to testify on his behalf and she had refused.

Judge McKiernan heard that on 2 August 2021 staff at the Imperial Hotel had contacted gardaí to say they were concerned about the accused who had departed the hotel where he had been staying and was going to leave in a vehicle.

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Gda O’Connor said that at 4.40pm, while on mobile patrol, he received a report over the radio to attend the car park at the rear of the Imperial.

On arrival three minutes later, he saw a red Volvo parked. He spoke to Mr Hackett who told him that he had four bottles of Kopparberg to drink earlier.

This man was slurring his words. He had the seatbelt on. The car engine was running. There were two empty Kopparberg bottles in the rear.

He was arrested at 4.45pm. A subsequent breath analysis showed an over the limit reading of 48mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath.

Jamie Hackett testified that for the Bank Holiday weekend he and two friends went out on the Saturday night. He drove to Dundalk that day, parked in what he thought was the Imperial carpark and booked into the hotel.

He was out in Dundalk that night. On Sunday morning he was ‘still quite drunk’. He didn’t wake up until 1.30pm.

His girlfriend was ‘not too impressed’ when he asked her to come and collect him.

The defendant said he stayed on his own in the hotel. He had a few drinks, then left to see where his girlfriend was.

He put his luggage in the boot of the car. He was charging his phone.

‘I don’t think the engine was on. If it was, it was just the ignition to charge the phone.’

The witness continued that he had no seatbelt on. The door of the car was open.

He didn’t dispute that alcohol was consumed. Gda O’Connor ‘was having none of it’ that he was waiting to be picked up by his girlfriend.

Mr Hackett said the phone was left in the car (after he was arrested). His girlfriend showed up and ‘drove around for an hour looking for me’.

Upon his release, he called her. They broke up ‘within a day’.

He had asked her to come to court. She said it was his own problem.

Cross-examined by Inspector Damien Martin, he said he was not sure effectively if the engine was running. He didn’t expect the garda to wait around for his lift.

He intended to leave the car and come back from Trim to get it. He was in the car on the phone for a half hour before gardaí arrived. He ended up staying another night in Dundalk.

Barrister Martin Dully said the only other person who could assist his client was no longer in a relationship with him. He asked if the court would allow time if the defendant was in a position to produce phone records.

Inspector Martin objected. He said Mr Hackett had time to put together his defence.

Judge McKiernan said she had a ‘slight doubt’.

The charge was dismissed.


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