A DRIVER who was handed back the keys of his car less than an hour after he was arrested on suspicion of drug-driving was acquitted of charges relating to the incident.
During a contested hearing Limerick District Court was told Joseph Moran, aged 27, of Rosturra Crescent, Woodview was stopped at 1.50am on September 10, 2013 after he was observed driving erratically on William Street.
Garda Paul Bentley said the defendant crossed the centre line on two occasions and that he braked at the junction of Wickham Street and High Street for “no particular reason”.
He said when he spoke with Mr Moran he smelled what he suspected to be cannabis.
Judge Marian O’Leary was told he later supplied a urine sample which confirmed the presence of cannabinoids.
Being cross examined by solicitor Ted McCarthy, Garda Bentley agreed the defendant had cooperated and that he was arrested, taken to Henry Street garda station, processed and released in less than 45 minutes.
“It was very efficient and it was done without a blip,” said Mr McCarthy, who added that this would not have been possible but for his client’s cooperation.
Mr McCarthy questioned why his client had been handcuffed as there was no evidence of aggression, violence or that he attempted to escape.
Garda Bentley said that he handcuffed him as he became agitated when he was informed he was being arrested.
Mr McCarthy submitted there was “nothing untoward” about his client’s driving and he suggested other drivers “parked where they shouldn’t have parked” along William Street.
He said the fact his client was given back the keys to his car less than an hour after he was arrested was a “slam dunk indication that he was capable of driving” on the night.
Having considering submissions in the case, Judge O’Leary ruled the use of handcuffs had been “unlawful and unjustified” and she said she did not believe the State had proved, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Mr Moran was incapable of driving.