A LATVIAN man who twice refused to give a sample of his breath to gardai after he was arrested on suspicion of committing drink driving offences has been disqualified from driving for six years.
Peteris Dragonis, 28, of Norwood Park, Ballysimon was also fined a total of €1,250 after he pleaded guilty to each of the offences, which occurred less than two months apart.
Insp Seamus Ruane, Henry Street, told Limerick Court that the first incident happened at around 3.30am on August 28, last when the defendant was observed by gardai sitting in a car near the Milk Market.
“The lights were on and the keys were in the ignition,” he said adding that there was a “strong smell” of alcohol off Mr Dragonis’s breath when he was approached by gardai.
The defendant was arrested for being “drunk in charge” of the vehicle and he was brought to Henry Street Garda Station where he failed to supply a sample of his breath when asked to provide one.
The court was told the second incident happened at around 6.10am on October 25, last.
Insp Ruane said Dragonis was arrested after he was observed driving erratically on the Dock Road.
“He was swerving all over the road,” he said adding that he was observed by gardai moving from the driver seat into the passenger seat after he stopped the vehicle.
Again, the defendant failed to supply a sample of his breath when he was asked to do so at Henry Street Garda Station.
Solicitor Darach McCarthy said his client, who has not previous convictions, had told gardai he had pulled in to make a phone call on the first occasion and he said he did not “fully understand” the request on the first occasion as there is no equivilant offence in Latvia.
He said Dragonis has been living in Ireland for some time and that he had had been working but lost his job after the first incident.
He described the offences as “appalling behaviour” and he told the court his client would not do it again.
“He has handled it badly and he apologises,” he told the court adding that his client has not come to the attention of the authorities since.
Imposing sentence, Judge John O’Neill said his was taking into account Dragonis’s guilty plea and his poor financial circumstances.
He fined him €500 in relation to the first offence and he disqualified him for four years.
The judge imposed an additional fine of €750 in relation to the second incident and he banned him from driving for six years.