January 21, 2014


DDTV: GARDAÍ say they are reviewing a case where a Donegal man who failed a breath test had the case against him dropped.

Assistant Commissioner with the National Traffic Bureau John Twomey said he didn’t believe the case would have “any impact on further such cases”.

He said the decision was being reviewed at senior level, but that no changes to procedure were envisaged.

However the man involved in the case – reported on Donegal Daily – will NOT face new charges.

His case has already been struck out and cannot be re-entered.

Sean McKeown had his case struck out after the DPP decided it would not pursue the case against him.

McKeown, 40, of Abbey Park, Manorcunningham was stopped by Gardai on November 13, 2011 and admitted to drinking and then subsequently failed a breath test.

However solicitor Ciaran MacLochlainn had argued that the case should be struck out because it was illegal.

He said the Mandatory Alcohol Testing (MAT) checkpoint was unlawful because the document authorising it had listed three different townlands.

The solicitor quoted legislation saying “An authorisation shall be in writing and shall specify the date on which and the public place in which the checkpoint is to be established.”

He told Judge Kelly: “It is clear that once an officer above the rank of inspector has signed authorisation for a MAT checkpoint that it must only specify one public place and one only.

“The law does not allow for multiple choices for gardai below that rank and in this case that is precisely what the authorisation allowed for.

The case had been put back until yesterday to allow the Director of Public Prosecutions to review the case.

Garda Inspector Goretti Sheridan told Letterkenny District Court yesterday that the DPP had advised to withdraw the case.

Solicitor MacLochlainn told Judge Paul Kelly previously that he had already had a similar case struck out.

It is now feared that hundreds of similar cases due to come before the courts since the 2004 Road Traffic Act could also be challenged.

It is now understood that Gardai name one specific location and not multiple locations for MAT checkpoints.