Arrest of suspected drink driver disputed by solicitor

David Hurley


David Hurley

Solicitor Ted McCarthy claims to have been 'hamstrung' by difference in gardas  proposed statement of evidence and his direct evidence
A JUDGE has reserved her decision in the case of a suspected drink-driver who is accused of failing to supply a sample of his breath to gardai.

A JUDGE has reserved her decision in the case of a suspected drink-driver who is accused of failing to supply a sample of his breath to gardai.

During a contested hearing at Limerick District Court, Judge Marian O’Leary was told Alan Flannery, aged 44, of Cornaron, Inverin, County Galway was arrested in the early hours of March 25 last after he was observed driving the wrong way down a one-way street.

Garda Conor Cronin said he was on patrol in the Robert Street area of Limerick city at around 3am when he encountered a 06-registered Mercedes which pulled out of a parking space and accelerated forcing other cars to “violently brake”.

Garda Cronin said he followed the vehicle which was then driven the wrong way down Denmark Street and onto Cruises Street before it stopped at Todd’s Bow.

The court was told the defendant got out of the vehicle without being asked but that he was unsteady on his feet and stumbled sideways.

Garda Cronin said Mr Flannery’s eyes were bloodshot and that he could smell alcohol on his breath.

Judge O’Leary was told the defendant remonstrated with the garda and questioned why he had pulled him over.

Garda Cronin said while speaking to Mr Flannery, he formed an opinion he was too intoxicated to drive the car and requested assistance as he was not in a position to make an arrest given his duties on the night.

While the legality of the defendant’s detention is being challenged, solicitor Ted McCarthy acknowledged the formal arrest which was carried out by a colleague a short time later was “procedurally perfect”.

Following his arrest, Mr Flannery was brought to Henry Street garda station where he was processed in the usual manner.

In his evidence, Garda Joseph O’Dwyer said shortly after 4am he made a requirement of the defendant to supply two specimens of his breath for analysis.

He said while Mr Flannery supplied one sample of breath he failed to supply a second within the allocated time.

“He failed to provide the specimen on time and the machine shut down” he said.

Being cross examined by Mr McCarthy, Garda O’Dwyer agreed his statement of proposed evidence, which was disclosed ahead of the case, was different to his direct evidence. The court was told the statement only indicated that Mr Flannery failed to supply two samples of breath and that there was no mention of the fact he had provided one sample as outlined by Garda O’Dwyer.

Mr McCarthy submitted he had been “hamstrung” by the lack of full disclosure in the case which was “not satisfactory”.

Seeking to have the charge dismissed, he also submitted that his client had been illegally detained after he was pulled over and that everything that happened thereafter was “fruit of the poisoned tree” and inadmissible.

Citing case law, Sergeant Donal Cronin submitted that the defendant was lawfully arrested on the day and that he was never unlawfully detained. “There were two arrests and both were lawful,” he said.

While Sgt Cronin accepted there were difference between the statements disclosed to Mr McCarthy and the evidence of Garda O’Dwyer, he disputed submissions that the disclosure order was not complied with.

Judge O’Leary adjourned the matter to December 22, next.