Court hears gardai forced to brake as Limerick drunk driver pulled out of disabled bay

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

Email:

donal.oregan@limerickleader.ie

Judge Mary Larkin: ‘Do I have a doubt the gardai made up this? No, I don’t.’

Judge Mary Larkin: ‘Do I have a doubt the gardai made up this? No, I don’t.’

A DRUNK driver - five times the legal limit - pulled out of a disabled parking bay, causing a garda car to brake, Newcastle West Court heard.

Edmond Dore, aged 63, of Pairc Luachra, Abbeyfeale pleaded not guilty to drink driving, assaulting a garda and threatening, abusive, insulting behaviour.

Garda William McElligott said at 00.26am on January 23, 2017, he and Garda Keith Hughes were on mobile patrol in The Square, Abbeyfeale.

“Garda Hughes was driving. I observed a vehicle attempting to pull out of a disabled car space in front of the patrol car. Garda Hughes had to brake to avoid a collision.

“The vehicle stopped. I approached the driver. He turned off the lights. The keys were on the passenger seat. He gave his name as Edmond Dore,” said Garda McElligott.

The garda said the defendant’s eyes were bloodshot and his speech was slurred.

“He admitted consuming alcohol. He began to abuse us, calling us ‘c***s’ and said he ‘didn’t give a f**k’. He was arrested and conveyed to Newcastle West garda station,” said Mr McElligott.

At the station the garda said Mr Dore failed to provide two specimens of breath.

“He continued to verbally abuse us. He hit Garda Hughes’s right arm with his elbow. He attempted to leave the medical room,” said Garda McElligott.

A doctor was called and a urine sample subsequently showed 360mgs of alcohol per 100mls of urine.

Charlie O’Connor, solicitor for Mr Dore, said his client will say he never drove the car.

Garda McElligott said Mr Dore drove out of the disabled bay.

The solicitor asked if the keys were on the seat?

“Correct. He obviously threw the keys on the passenger seat,” said Garda McElligott.

Mr O’Connor said to prove the threatening, abusive, insulting behaviour count, a person’s conduct must give rise to a breach of the peace.

“You are a garda – a peace officer,” said Mr O’Connor.

Garda McElligott said he was “insulted” by Mr Dore’s language.

Garda Hughes took the stand and recounted the same set of events as Garda McElligott.

Mr O’Connor said there was no evidence given about gardai moving the car back to ensure the one-way street was passable.

Garda Hughes said he couldn’t recall if he moved the car.

“I move cars the whole time. It is irrelevant,” said Garda Hughes

Mr Dore gave evidence that he was drinking in a pub in Abbeyfeale. He said he drove down but had a lift home organised.

“I left my phone in the passenger seat. The central locking doesn’t work. I had to sit into it to get my phone. Then they opened the door and called me out. I said I was drinking but I wasn’t driving,” said Mr Dore.

The defendant said he couldn’t give the second breath specimen as he had “so many operations” and denied assaulting Garda Hughes.

Regarding the foul language, Mr Dore said only people with “a lack of vocabulary” talk like that and he wouldn’t speak like that.

Mr O’Connor applied for all matters to be struck out as his client’s evidence was that he wasn’t driving and there was “nothing about the car being reversed back” from the gardai.

Inspector Alan Cullen said gardai observed Mr Dore pull out in front of them and whether a tow truck was called or the car was reversed afterwards was “irrelevant”.

Judge Mary Larkin said she had heard the evidence of the two gardai.

“Do I have a doubt the gardai made up this? No, I don’t. I accept the car pulled out slightly and they braked.

“Mr Dore was agitated, he was unhappy, he knew the consequences of being inebriated. Do I accept the evidence of Garda Hughes and Garda McElligott? I do,” said Judge Larkin, who found Mr Dore guilty of drink driving.

The judge said she had a serious objection to the “filthy language” used but dismissed the threatening, abusive, insulting behaviour count.

The court heard Mr Dore had eight previous convictions including for intoxication and not providing a specimen.

In mitigation, Mr O’Connor said his client had a number of strokes.

“The assault is at the lower end of the scale. He is an elderly man. He has serious issues with alcohol. He is on a long list of drugs for his medical difficulties. He is just out of hospital,” said Mr O’Connor.

Judge Larkin said gardai are entitled to do their jobs without being assaulted.

“I am referring him to the Probation Services. When I get the report I will make up my mind [on the assault charge],” said Judge Larkin.

She fined Mr Dore €250 and disqualified him from driving for three years for drink driving.

Recognisance was fixed in the event of an appeal.