Limerick motorist who ‘forgot’ to pay fine banned for drink driving

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

The man was before Newcastle West Court arising from a detection at Barnakyle, Patrickswell on November 29, 2017

The man was before Newcastle West Court arising from a detection at Barnakyle, Patrickswell on November 29, 2017

A LIMERICK motorist who failed a roadside breath test after he was stopped at a garda checkpoint has been disqualified from driving for a year.

John Grimes, aged 39, of Rathuard, Ballysheedy was before Newcastle West Court arising from a detection at Barnakyle, Patrickswell on November 29, 2017.

Garda Pauline Coughlan said she was performing a routine checkpoint at around 2.40pm when she noticed the tax and NCT on the defendant’s car were out of date.

While speaking with Mr Grimes she noted a smell of alcohol on his breath and decided to carry out a roadside breath test which he failed.

The defendant was then arrested and taken to Henry Street garda station for processing in the usual way.

Garda Coughlan told Judge Flann Brennan the defendant was unable to supply a proper sample of his breath and that a doctor had to be called to take a blood sample from him.

The sample, she added, confirmed a concentration of 71 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood – marginally above the legal limit of 50mg. 

As the offence happened before the recent law change, a Fixed Charged Penalty Notice was issued but was not paid by Mr Grimes.

Seeking to have the case against his client dismissed, solicitor Padraig O’Connell submitted Garda Coughlan had no legal power to stop his client’s vehicle as there were no issues with his driving.

He said there was no evidence before the court that he was properly cautioned or that he was  informed as to why he was being arrested.

Inspector Alan Cullen rejected the submissions saying Garda Coughlan had authority under the Road Traffic Act to stop the defendant’s car. He said her evidence in relation to what happened was very clear and stood for itself.

Having formally convicted Mr Grimes of the charge, Judge Brennan was told he has two previous convictions for drink-driving offences and was previously banned from driving.

Seeking leniency, Mr O’Connell said his client had “made a terrible” mistake and regrets what happened. He said he had forgotten to pay the fine and urged the court to note the “low level” of alcohol involved.

Judge Brennan fined Mr grimes €350 and disqualified him from driving for a year. 

Recognisance was set in the event of an appeal being lodged.