A DONEGAL man banned from driving for two years for drink-driving has been behind the wheel throughout – because of another loophole in the law.
Martin Holmes, from Sandy Row in Castlefinn, sat in court in Letterkenny as his solicitor argued that a drink-drive ban in the North couldn’t be extended to the Republic because of the way the Road Safety Authority had made the application.
Holmes was banned from driving for two years on March 26, 2013 after pleading guilty at Omagh Magistrates Court to drinking and driving.
However he launched a bid at the District Court in Letterkenny to prevent the ban being imposed south of the Border.
The District Court ruled against him last year, but he appealed it to the Circuit Court this week and won his case on a technicality.
Solicitor Frank Dorrian had argued that the Road Safety Authority, which implements cross-Border bans, had acted outside the law because they had issued a court summons.
He said the Courts No 3 Act (1986) was introduced to enable court clerks to issue a summons only in respect of a criminal offence alleged in this State.
“The court clerk in this case was exercising jurisdiction which cannot apply to this situation,” said Mr Dorrian.
Road Safety Authority solicitor Jacqueline Maloney argued the application to apply the ban in the Republic is a process, and not criminal proceedings. She said the summons had to be issued to notify Holmes.
But Judge John O’Hagan agreed with Mr Dorrian.
He said the RSA was using the wrong method to try to apply the ban in the Republic and he agreed with Mr Dorrian that a summons could not be used.
The legal case could now mean more motorists who live here in Donegal but who were banned from driving in the North and Britain for drinking and driving can also appeal.