Limerick garda ‘at a loss’ as to how driver’s status was incorrect on summons

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

The man was prosecuted before Newcastle West court

The man was prosecuted before Newcastle West court

A MOTORIST who was over the legal alcohol limit when stopped while driving near his home in Limerick was acquitted of drink-driving as he was incorrectly prosecuted as a ‘specified driver’.

Robert Leen, aged 38, of Raheenagh, Ballagh, Newcastle West, was prosecuted before the local court in relation to a detection which was made in the early hours of June 23, 2017.

Garda Michael McNamara said the defendant failed a roadside breath test after he was stopped at an MIT checkpoint at Raheenagh shortly after 1.15am.

Following his arrest, Mr Leen was taken to Newcastle West garda station where he provided a sample of blood to a doctor which, when analysed, confirmed he was almost twice the legal limit.

Being questioned by solicitor Pat Enright, Garda McNamara said he could clearly recall the incident and he stated he was certain he had calibrated the roadside alcometer to the ‘non-specified driver’ setting.

He said Mr Leen produced an Australian driver’s licence when stopped but informed gardai he held a full Irish licence and that he had confirmed this before carrying out the roadside test.

When asked by Mr Enright why his client had been prosecuted as a ‘specified driver’ Garda McNamara insisted he had dealt with him as a “non-specified driver” at all times and the summons was incorrect.

In addition, Mr Enright put it to the witness that the prosecution before the court had been brought under a section of the Road Traffic Act which specifically applies to specified drivers such as learner-drivers, novice-drivers and professional drivers.

Garda McNamara accepted this telling the court he was “at a loss” to understand how this was the case.

Granting an application to dismiss the charge, Judge Mary Larkin noted it had been open to the State to amend the summons prior to the conclusion of the case but that this had not been done.

The defendant, who suffers from ill-health, was not present in court for the hearing as he is currently living in Australia.