A 22 year old student who was observed by a garda driving erratically in a housing estate and failing to stop in the early hours was later arrested for drink driving.
Alex O’Connor of New Abbey, Marlfield, Clonmel, Co Tipperary was before Sligo District Court charged with drink driving at Glencarrig on November 23rd 2020.
Garda Colm Dolan of Sligo Garda Station told Judge Sandra Murphy he was on duty in the area at 5:25am when he saw a vehicle coming around a bend in the housing estate at speed. He felt the car, a silver Audi A4 was going too fast. It continued towards him and started swerving from side to side. He flashed his headlights and put his hand out to attempt to stop the car but it didn’t stop. It speeded up and drove by. He observed one occupant in the car.
He reversed his van and followed the car which turned left and had stopped. The driver’s door was open and a male exited and began running towards an alleyway. Gda Dolan pursued after the male on foot. He noticed he was extremely unsteady on his feet and he threw keys over a high wall. He identified himself as a member of An Garda Síochána. At the top of the estate the defendant stopped in a doorway and attempted to conceal himself in the doorway. When Gda Dolan approached he shouted ‘okay, you got me’. When the garda was speaking with him, he got an extremely strong smell of alcohol and he was breathing heavily and his eyes were glazed over and bloodshot. He was arrested on suspicion of drink driving and brought to Ballymote Garda Station where a blood specimen was taken and came back with a reading of 112mg/100mls of blood.
Inspector Ray Tubman asked the garda if he was satisfied the defendant was the person driving the car and he said he was, he observed him exiting and running.
Defending solicitor Mr Mark Mullaney complimented Gda Dolan on his evidence. He asked Judge Sandra Murphy for direction in relation to the arrest of his clien . He said Gda Dolan very fairly said he formed an opinion but at no stage did he explain to his client the reason for the arrest. He said that is a requirement and the garda must communicate to a reasonable level why a person is being arrested. Inspector Tubman said on the evidence of Gda dolan it was clear and from the explanation he gave that he didn’t think there would be any doubt on the part of the defendant. Mr Mullaney said there was an obligation to explain in ordinary language and there was no explanation given in ordinary language.
Judge Murphy said in the circumstances of the arrest and the way Mr O’Connor behaved it was clear the circumstances of the arrest. She said the evidence from Gda Dolan was very clear and the defendant was well aware of the reason.
She said in relation to the defendant, he was a young man with no previous convictions. Mr Mullaney said he is a final year student and was working splitting wood in his home county and asked for a postponement on disqualification until February, which the State agreed with.
Judge Murphy convicted and fined him €350.
She disqualified him for two years and postponed the disqualification until February.