County Limerick drink driving court case questions where Bruff starts and ends

Donal O'Regan


Donal O'Regan


County Limerick drink driving court case questions where Bruff starts and ends

WHERE does Bruff start and finish was a question asked during a drink driving court case.

Mike Hurley, aged 62, of Sycamore Drive, Kilmallock, pleaded not guilty to the offence at Kilmallock Court.

At 10.30pm on July 28, 2018, Garda Philip Ellard said he conducted a mandatory intoxalyser checkpoint on the Main Street of Bruff that was authorised by an inspector.

“I set up my position on the Main Street just by the monument on the road to Croom. A silver Toyota approached my location from the Croom Road. While speaking to Mr Hurley I noticed a smell of intoxicating liquor from his breath.

“He did indicate to me he had a drink 30 minutes prior to being stopped,” said Garda Ellard.

He said it took Mr Hurley approximately four attempts for the roadside breath test to be successful.

“I arrested him on suspicion of drink driving and conveyed him to Bruff Garda Station,” said Garda Ellard.

As a trained user of the evidenser machine Garda Ellard conducted the breath test.

“He made three attempts but the specimen was incomplete,” said Garda Ellard. A doctor was called and a sample of Mr Hurley’s urine was taken. The result from the medical bureau was 264mgs of alcohol per 100mls of urine.

Brendan Gill, solicitor for Mr Hurley, said the authorisation from an inspector to conduct a mandatory intoxalyser checkpoint was in the location of “Bruff, Limerick”.

“Where is the authorisation for Main Street, Bruff?” asked Mr Gill.

Garda Ellard said Main Street is in the townland of Bruff.

“I narrowed it down,” said Garda Ellard.

Mr Gill said Bruff is 10 miles by 15 miles in size. He compared it to other exact locations authorised by the inspector on the same night - Gortboy, Kilmallock and Deebert, Kilmallock.

Mr Gill said Bruff, Limerick was a “discrepancy in locus”.

“It should be Main Street, Bruff. You have no authorisation on the locus. It came down from on high?” asked Mr Gill.

Garda Ellard agreed.

Mr Gill sought a direction from Judge Marian O’Leary relating to the locus.

“What is being relied upon - Bruff, Limerick - is open to complete interpretation. Where does Bruff start and finish? The onus is on the State to specify as closely as possible to the location. Bruff covers many square metres. My submission is that Bruff is too broad. It has to be specific. As such it doesn’t comply with the requirement,” said Mr Gill.

Inspector Padraig Sutton said it is the spirit rather than the letter of the law that matters in such cases.

Judge Marian O’Leary did not hold for Mr Gill’s direction.

“Necessary latitude is given to gardai to pick a point to set up a checkpoint using their professional competency,” said Judge O’Leary, who found Mr Hurley guilty of drink driving.

Mr Gill said his client is 62-years-old and has one grown up daughter.

“He works as a farm manager away from his home so the disqualification will cause considerable hardship,” said Mr Gill.

Judge O’Leary disqualified Mr Hurley from driving for three years and fined him €500

Recognisance was fixed in the event of an appeal.