A COUNTY Limerick man who was caught driving while more than four times the legal limit avoided a conviction for drink driving after a judge expressed concerns about the evidence of the prosecuting garda.
Limerick District Court was told John Ryan, aged 64, of Ballycahane Upper, Croom was stopped at Roxtown, Fedamore in the early hours of June 14, 2013 after Garda Sharon Quirke observed his 04-D registered car swerving across the road.
Judge Eugene O’Kelly was told the defendant, who failed a roadside breath test, was arrested after he admitted he had been drinking all evening.
He was then taken to Henry Street garda station where he provided a blood sample showing a .22 concentration of alcohol.
Being cross-examined by Martin Tully BL, Garda Quirke admitted she made a mistake when preparing her statement of proposed evidence, which was disclosed to the defence ahead of the hearing.
While admitting she made reference to giving Mr Ryan a “pink slip” at the garda station, she denied she had “cut and paste” parts of her statement from an earlier statement relating to a separate drink-driving prosecution.
“It is very difficult to understand how you could have a recollection of giving a pink slip when it did not happen,” said Mr Tully who put it to the witness that the references to a pink slip were consistent with procedures adopted under the 1961 Road Traffic Act, which was repealed in October 2011. “You were taking this from an old statement,” he said.
While she referred to the provisions of the 2010 Road Traffic Act in her direct evidence, Garda Quirke conceded she had cited the 1961 Act in her statement and had requested that Mr Ryan provide a blood sample under the that legislation.
Dismissing the charge, Judge O’Kelly said there had to be a doubt that Garda Quirke was relying on the provisions of the 1961 Act and that Mr Ryan was entitled to the benefit of that doubt.