A Stranorlar-man who contested a drink driving case has been found guilty of the offence after unsuccessfully arguing that he had been unlawfully handcuffed during his arrest.
Eguene Gamble (43) of 23 Woodlawn, Stranorlar Gamble pleaded not guilty to failing or refusal to provide a breath sample at Letterkenny Garda Station on August 28th, 2013.
Letterkenny District court heard he had been arrested after gardaí received a report of that a man had called to his wife’s house and began shouting at her while she was inside.
The court heard that there was a barring order iSn place. The woman told gardaí that her husband, Eugene Gamble had been drinking and he had left the scene in a white van.
Garda Malcolm McGee told Judge Denis McLoughlin that he and a colleague approach had approached from Castlefinn and saw a white van pulling out and driving in the opposite direction.
Garda McGee said the white van drove past even though the Garda driver put her hand out the window indicating to van to stop.
The Garda patrol van turned and followed the van which pulled in at Conneyburrow,
Lifford, after the blue lights had been activated. Garda McGee said there was a strong smell of alcohol from Gamble who slurred as he spoke.
Garda McGee said he arrested Gamble at 12.54am and handcuffed him as he considered there was a risk to his health and safety and that of the gardaí due to his failure to stop initially.
Under cross-examination from Gamble’s solicitor, Donough Cleary, Garda McGee said that as Gamble was coming from a volatile situation and the fact that he had not stopped initially was enough to justify the use of handcuffs.
The Garda said he did not normally handcuff people in drink driving arrests. Mr Clearly suggested that as Gamble was placed in the back of the Garda van and had only a bench to sit on, that handcuffing him was putting him at risk of injury.
The court heard that Gamble had failed to give a breath sample at the garda station. Judge McLoughlin was told he was not making a genuine effort to give a breath sample and the time for completion of a sample lapsed.
In a submission to the judge Mr Cleary said it is acceptable to handcuff a suspect if the decision was reasonable. He said it did not seem credible that Gamble was safer sitting handcuffed on a becnh in the back of the Gardaa van.
Judge Mclaughlin ruled that Gamble had a case to answer. The accused told the court that he did blow into the breathalyser but it didn’t work. Judge McLoughlin found Gamble guilty, fined him €500 and disqualified from driving for four years.