Limerick solicitor argues that drink-driving evidence obtained was 'tainted'

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Limerick solicitor argues that drink-driving evidence obtained was 'tainted'

Judge Mary Larkin dismissed case

A SOLICITOR said that the evidence underpinning the arrest of a young woman over drink-driving was “tainted” because the garda cautioned her after she admitted to consuming alcohol,  Limerick District Court has heard.

On September 7, 2016, at 1.25am gardaí observed the female driver, 27, driving in an “erratic” manner on Ellen Street.

Gda Cillian O’Muineachain said, after indicating the driver to pull over, he noticed an “extremely strong smell of intoxicants” coming from the vehicle. He then asked if she had consumed alcohol. She replied that she had “three pints of Guinness”.

He then cautioned the County Limerick woman and arrested her for drink-driving. Breathalyser tests at Henry Street later that morning showed that she had 81mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath in her system.

Defending solicitor Adrian Frawley said that the garda relied on “admissible evidence” to base his arrest, adding that there was no evidence of slurring or dilated pupils.

Gda O’Muineachain said that it was his duty to issue a caution if he suspected any offence. When questioned by Insp Oliver Kennedy, the garda said that he did not have his opinion formed until she admitted to drinking.

The garda, who said that the woman was “unfit” to drive, accepted that he should have cautioned the accused before obtaining evidence. Insp Kennedy said that the investigating garda was “extremely fair”. 

Mr Frawley stated in court that “the evidence underpinning the arrest was tainted” and that the information was “obtained unlawfully”. 

Judge Mary Larkin dismissed the case.