Newcastle West Court
A COUNTY Limerick man who received a three year ban for driving with excess alcohol blamed previous bouts of jaundice for the high blood alcohol reading.
Patrick Lawlor, 2 Cois Deel, Rathkeale was fined €250 and disqualified from driving for three years when he was convicted, at Newcastle West court, of driving with excess alcohol at Cois Deel on December 31, 2017.
Mr Lawlor contested the charge saying he had not been breathalysed when stopped by Garda Thomas Moroney. He also said Garda Moroney had asked him had he been drinking, to which he had replied, he’d drank a couple of pints.
The reason for the high reading on a sample of urine taken at Newcastle West garda station, Mr Lawlor explained was to do with previous bouts of jaundice.
His doctor had advised him that it was taking him a lot longer to process alcohol than other people.
Mr Lawlor also said his address was 31 St Mary’s Park not Cois Deel.
Mr Kenny Kerins BL, defending Mr Lawlor, argued that Garda Moroney, in his sworn evidence, had relied on three things to form his opinion that Mr Lawlor was intoxicated: the smell of alcohol, the driving and failing the breathalyser. But without evidence the breathalyser had been used, this could be called into question.
“I believe it can be established as a matter of fact, whether or not the device was used at that date,” he said but the State had not supplied a serial number which would indicate a breathalyser had been used on Mr Lawlor.
Earlier, Garda Moroney said he had observed Mr Lawlor driving along New Line, Rathkeale, going from side to side before turning into Cois Deel. The garda said he then activated the blue lights and Mr Lawlor pulled in. He got a strong smell of alcohol, he told the court, and he also noted in his notebook that Mr Lawlor had failed the breathalyser.
Garda Moroney said he did not ask Mr Lawlor if he had been drinking.
Supt John Deasy said maintenance records for the breathalyser had been supplied to Mr Kerins but there were no serial numbers on the mouthpiece used, only the machine.
Judge Mary Larkin convicted Mr Lawlor, acknowledging that the disqualification would have very serious consequences for him.
She postponed the disqualification to August 10 but also fixed recognisance, in the event of an appeal, at Mr Lawlor’s own bond of €250.