Limerick drink driving charge struck out because car couldn’t be driven

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Garda Jerry O'Connor.

A GARDA told a court how he found a jeep in the middle of the road in Kilmallock with smoke belching from under the bonnet and two men inside, one with his chest covered in vomit.

Garda Jerry O’Connor told the District Court in Kilmallock that upon approaching the jeep he found  “plumes of smoke pouring out of the front” adding that “it smelled to me like a clutch burning.”

Garda O’Connor said the Toyota Land Cruiser was stopped in the middle of the traffic lane when he approached it on July 18, with cars having to drive around it.

“The two men inside were asleep. The man in the passenger seat had vomit all down his front. They were sound asleep. I had to shake the man in the driver’s seat to wake him,” he said

The Garda asked the man in the driving seat – Brian Fox (25) of Clonlough, Mitchellstown in Cork – if he had been drinking.

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“He said he had a drink earlier that day in Athlacca,” Garda O’Connor told Judge Patricia Harney.

He told the court he brought Mr Fox to the Garda station but couldn’t take a breath sample as the intoxilyzer wasn’t working.

Mr O’Connor instead gave a urine sample, which, when analysed, showed he had 207 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine.

The legal limit for professional, learner, and novice drivers is 27 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine, and 67 milligrams for Category B drivers.

After Garda O’Connor agreed with the defendant’s solicitor that the Toyota was incapable of being driven and had to be taken away on a low-loader, Judge Harney struck out the charges .

She agreed with solicitor Denis Linehan that in order to bring a prosecution for drink driving, “it’s fundamental to the State’s case to prove that a vehicle involved is mechanically propelled”.

Judge Harney said that she noted that the car “was in the middle of the road, indicating it came to a sudden stop”.

“The two of them were out cold, there was smoke coming out of it, and there was no evidence of how long the two had been camped there, taking 40 winks,” she said.