Judge refuses to strike out alleged drink-driving cases over delays

October 19, 2017

A local Judge has refused to strike out approximately 45 cases of alleged drink-driving because of an ongoing delay in hearing them.

The cases were due to be mentioned at Letterkenny District Court.

The cases have been delayed for a number of months following a challenge being heard in the Supreme Court.

The legal challenge was taken by a Romanian man Mihai Avadanei over his 2014 prosecution for alleged drink-driving in Dublin.

The case is being taken on claims that the print-out from the intoxilyser machine operated by Gardai should be in both English and Irish, as written in the Road Traffic Act, 2010.

Up to 30 similar cases were struck out last week in Dungarvan after Judge Terence Finn said a considerable amount of time had passed since the legal matter was before the courts and it would be unsafe to now hear the cases.

Solicitor Ciaran Mac Lochlainn raised the issue on behalf of one client and asked Judge Paul Kelly to strike out the case because of the delay in hearing it.

More than 45 separate cases of alleged drink-driving were due to be mentioned today.

However, Garda Inspector Michael Harrison, who is also head of the Donegal Traffic Corps, said that in most of the cases, justice has not been delayed.

He added that the decision by the Supreme Court is a matter of public interest.

Solicitor Mr Mac Lochlainn said there was the issue that the delays were costing clients money in dealing with their solicitors on the matter.

However, Judge Paul Kelly said that was an issue between defendants and their solicitors.

Judge Kelly said he was not acceding to Mr Mac Lochlainn’s application and he adjourned all cases until December 21st.

He added “These adjournments have been facilitated by the courts and it would be unfair to simply strike them all out at this stage.”

Gardai did strike out one pending case after it was found that the accused had since passed away.