Boundary between townlands at centre of Limerick drink driving case

Judge Eugene O'Kelly said there was no doubt that the car was travelling as much in Dromkeen South as it was in Dromkeen North
A PALLASGREEN man who was four times over the legal alcohol limit contested the case against him, arguing that he was stopped in a different townland to where gardai alleged the offence happened.

A PALLASGREEN man who was four times over the legal alcohol limit contested the case against him, arguing that he was stopped in a different townland to where gardai alleged the offence happened.

Trevor Cosgrave, 32, of Corelish, Pallasgreen, was before Kilmallock Court charged with drive/attempt to drive an MPV while exceeding the alcohol limit (breath) at Dromkeen South, Pallasgreen on September 10, 2012.

Garda John Finnerty of Bruff garda station told the court that on the date in question he was an observer in a patrol car which was being driven by Garda Pat McEnery. He said that both he and Garda McEnery commenced a checkpoint at Dromkeen at 1.30am. He said that at 2.05am as they were finishing the checkpoint, a red van approached from the Tipperary side and turned left towards Dromkeen. The court heard that Garda Finnerty and Garda McEnery followed the car, in the patrol car.

“This vehicle was swerving over and back on the road,” said Garda Finnerty.

Garda Finnerty said they stopped the vehicle at Dromkeen South and spoke to the driver Trevor Cosgrave. Garda Finnerty said he observed that his speech was slurred and his eyes were bloodshot and there was a smell of intoxicating liquor from his breath.

Garda Finnerty said Cosgrave admitting having had a couple of drinks.

Garda Finnerty told the court that Trevor Cosgrave was arrested at Dromkeen South and taken to Bruff garda station.

Solicitor for Mr Cosgrave, Colin Morrissey, put it to Garda Finnerty that his client cooperated on the date in question and pulled in on the left at the first available opportunity, to which Garda Finnerty said he did.

Mr Morrissey put it to Garda Finnerty that the location in question was not Dromkeen South, but Dromkeen North “and Mr Cosgrave never travelled through Dromkeen South at all.”

Garda Finnerty said that after he returned to Bruff garda station he looked at the map and saw that the place he had arrested Mr Cosgrave was Dromkeen South. Maps were presented to the court by Mr Morrissey of the area in question.

While Garda Finnerty said that he couldn’t pinpoint exactly where Mr Cosgrave was stopped, he said he felt it was before the church.

Mr Morrissey said his client would say it was after the church he was stopped.

Mr Morrissey said that on looking at the map and taking the middle of the road as the townland boundary, the townland of Dromkeen South is on the other side of the road.

Garda Finnerty said that was not clear from the boundaries shown on the map before the court.

The court heard that a breath sample taken from Mr Cosgrave showed a reading of 89 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.

In his evidence, Trevor Cosgrave said his driving “wasn’t in any way untoward” on the date in question. He told the court that he pulled in to the left, after the church.

Mr Morrissey put it to his client that his evidence would put the place of arrest at Dromkeen North, to which Mr Cosgrave replied, “it would”.

In his evidence, civil engineer, John Moloney, said that in his view the townland boundary goes down the centre of the road.

The court heard that the road in question is a very narrow road.

Sgt Michelle Leahy of Bruff garda station put it to Mr Moloney that the road is so narrow that there are times when a car could be travelling in both Dromkeen North and Dromkeen South at the same time “or is the road so wide that the car could have no problem staying in Dromkeen North, the whole way along that stretch of road.”

Mr Moloney said he couldn’t confirm that.

Mr Morrissey told the court that there was “insufficient evidence” before to court in relation to the gardai’s claim that his client was stopped at Dromkeen South.

“There is doubt as to whether or not Mr Cosgrave ever travelled through Dromkeen South,” he said.

Judge Eugene O’Kelly said that he had no doubt that the car was travelling as much in Dromkeen South as it was in Dromkeen North. Judge O’Kelly said he was satisfied that the State had proven their case.

The court heard that Cosgrave is an electrician by trade.

Judge O’Kelly disqualified Cosgrave from driving for a period of three years and imposed a fine of €1,000. Recognizance was fixed in the event of an appeal.