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Drink driving charge is dismissed over wrong address for checkpoint

June 20th, 2024 8:00 AM

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AN error in paperwork resulted in a drink driving prosecution being dismissed at a recent sitting of Macroom District Court.

Cian O’Callaghan, 43, of Derrincullig, Coolea, was charged with driving while intoxicated on May 21st, 2023 but his solicitor Patrick Horan successfully challenged the prosecution based on an error in the garda paperwork.

Court presenter Inspector Debra Marsh told the court that Mr O’Callaghan was driving a Hyundai Santa Fé when he was stopped at a checkpoint at The Flats, Ballymakeera at 11.24pm. Giving evidence Garda Ciaran McCrory said that Mr O’Callaghan told him on the night that he had consumed ‘one or two pints’.

Mr O’Callaghan was subsequently taken to Macroom Garda Station. At the station Mr O’Callaghan’s blood alcohol level was recorded as 80mg per 100 ml of blood where the legal limit is 50mg. Gda McCrory said that he was fully co-operative.

Defence solicitor Patrick Horan said that the location stated for the checkpoint where Mr O’Callaghan was stopped was given as “The Flats, Ballyvourney, Co Cork”. Mr Horan said that his client had taken photos of road signs near the location which indicated that the area was in fact “The Flats, Ballymakeera” and not Ballyvourney as stated.

Gda McCrory said that the two villages of Ballymakeera and Ballyvourney ‘run into each other but there was only one townland known as “The Flats” in the area. Inspector Marsh told the court that the area was commonly known as The Flats and that it was clear this was the area where the checkpoint was located.

Mr Horan said that the boundary between Ballymakeera and Ballyvourney was marked by a river and the checkpoint location was clearly in Ballymakeera.

He told the court that the notice issued to Mr O’Callaghan stated the checkpoint was in “The Flats, Ballyvourney” but said there was no such place and that as a result authorisation was clearly defective.

Judge Philip O’Leary O’Leary said that he had to decide based on the evidence if there was a distinction between Ballymakeera and Ballyvourney and that based on the evidence there clearly was. He said there was a doubt in his mind and on that basis he had to dismiss the prosecution.

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