Drink driving cases dismissed

The first Inishowen drink driving and failure to provide a specimen cases were dismissed at Buncrana District Court yesterday in line with a High Court ruling.

Visiting Judge James Faughnan said he had to deal with the way the “law is at present” and dismissed three cases of drink driving, two of them without prejudice and a charge of failing to provide a specimen.

All cases were contested and listed for hearing.

In September, the High Court ruled that a breath sample from an evidenzer machine was not admissible evidence unless it was bi-lingual - in both English and Irish. This ruling is being appealed by the Director of Public Prosecutions to the Court of Appeal.

Resident Donegal District Court Judge Paul Kelly had adjourned all drink driving cases at district courts in Carndonagh and Buncrana pending the outcome of this appeal.

However, judges across the country have differed in their own rulings in the matter.

At Buncrana District Court yesterday, solicitors Frank Dorrian and Ciaran MacLochlainn asked Judge Faughnan for the dismissal of their clients’ charges in light of the High Court ruling.

Garda Inspector David Murphy applied for an adjournment in all cases.

Judge Faughnan said the “law is what it is” and dismissed the first case of Joey Fullerton, 9 Crana View, Buncrana without prejudice. Fullerton (32), was charged with drink driving at Main Street, Buncrana on April 5th, 2015.

Judge Faughnan said if the State wishes to “go again,” in relation to pursuing the charge, which “is unlikely,” they could.

The second dismissed drink driving charge related to Shane Arbuckle,(20), Drumadooey, Burnfoot who was charged with drink driving at Gortnaskea, Burnfoot on 9th May 2014. This was dismissed without prejudice.

Thirdly, a charge of drink driving against Edward McGuinness, (60), 20 Oakfield Close, Buncrana at Oakfield Close, Buncrana on 19th January 2015 was also dismissed after Mr MacLochlainn requested it be dismissed in light of the ruling.

Judge Faughnan said they did not know when the appeal would be dealt with and the decision was a “snapshot in time.”

He added that “justice delayed is justice denied” and dismissed the drink driving charge against McGuinness.

The third charge dismissed was not drink driving. Bernard McLaughlin, Kinnego, Buncrana was charged with failing to provide a specimen on 5th April, 2014 at Kinnego, Buncrana.

Mr MacLochlainn said the case was unusual in that it also involved the evidenzer certificate and he asked for it be dismissed. The judge granted the application.