The contested hearing took place at Limerick District Court
A MAN who drove at speed through a Limerick housing estate late at night is facing a two-year ban for drink-driving.
Joe Ahern, aged 30, of Curragh Birin, Castletroy was also convicted of careless driving relating to an incident which happened at Cambridge Court, Castletroy in the early hours of March 16, last.
During a contested hearing, Garda Barry Culhane said he was on duty at College Court, Castletroy at 3.35am when he observed a Grey Volvo S40 approaching at “excessive speed”.
He said there were a number of people in the car which accelerated past his patrol car before turning sharply into Cambridge Close and coming to an “abrupt stop” in the cul-de-sac.
Garda Culhane said there were a large number of people in the area at the time and that he noted several taxis which were dropping off fares.
Limerick District Court was told after the Volvo stopped, Mr Ahern got out and ran down a narrow path. He was located a short time later hiding in undergrowth.
Garda Culhane said he immediately smelt alcohol on his breath and that he noticed his pupils were dilated and his speech was slurred.
Mr Ahern was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving at 3.40am and taken to Mayorstone garda station where he provided a sample of breath which confirmed he was almost three times the legal limit.
While not contesting the facts, Kenny Kerins BL submitted there was “absolutely no evidence whatsoever” to support the careless driving charge and that the correct charge would have been one of dangerous driving.
“This is not a careless driving case, the wrong charge is before the court,” he said.
The barrister also questioned why garda Culhane had chosen to observe his client for 20 minutes at the garda station despite being satisfied he had not consumed any food or drink from the time of his arrest.
“The court has to ask what’s the justification,” he said submitting the decision to conduct the ‘period of observation’ was “completely unnecessary”.
Having considered the submissions, Judge Marian O’Leary said she was satisfied the State had proven its case in relation to each of the charges.
In addition to imposing a two year driving ban, she fined Mr Ahern a total of €700.