An Inishowen man has been fined €400 and banned from driving after he refused to hand over the car keys when he was arrested for drink driving in Moville.
David McLaughlin, 37, of St. Boden’s Terrace, Culdaff, faced a series of charges, including obstruction, drink driving and no insurance, on July 1, 2017, at Glencrow, Moville.
He pleaded guilty to all charges when he appeared before Carndonagh District Court.
Garda Inspector Seamus McGonigle told the court that on July 1, 2017, Gardaí received a report from a female that a suspected drink driver had hit a ditch at Glencrow.
“Gardaí went to the scene and saw a VW Passat pulled in,” Insp. McGonigle said.
“They knew the driver, Mr. McLaughlin, whom they had suspected had been in involved in a separate incident earlier that day. Upon speaking with him Gardaí smelt an intoxicating liquor so he was arrested for drink driving.”
Insp. McGonigle said they asked Mr. McLaughlin to hand over the car keys but he refused, saying ‘you’ll get no f***ing keys from me’.
“He got very aggressive and pepper spray had to be used. He then attempted to start the car on several occasions but he was unable. There was a genuine fear that some of the Garda members present could have been harmed during the incident,” Insp. McGonigle added.
“He continued to be aggressive but the guards eventually got the door of the car opened and Mr. McLaughlin was handcuffed. After a few minutes he eventually calmed down.”
The Garda Inspector said Mr. McLaughlin admitted having two glasses of wine earlier in the day and when tested he provided a breath alcohol reading of 24mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath. Insp. McGonigle said McLaughlin was being prosecuted as a specified driver because he has no driver’s licence.
Currently the drink drive limit for a fully qualified driver is 22mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath, but the limit for a specified driver is 9mg per 100ml of breath.
Insp. McGonigle said Mr. McLaughlin has no recorded previous convictions, but he added that he ‘didn’t know if that was the case or not’.
Defence solicitor Roisin Doherty said Mr. McLaughlin apologised for his actions, adding that he had fallen out with a neighbour earlier that day. She said the Culdaff man had been on strong painkillers for a medical condition and this had affected him.
Ms. Doherty said Mr. McLaughlin is now a married man with three children and has had no difficulties with Gardaí since this incident in Moville.
She said she has met Mr. McLaughlin on several occasions recently and has been ‘very impressed by his attitude’.
“In his words he said he never wants to see me again,” the Carn based solicitor said.
“I’ve been really impressed by him and he is working fulltime now as a fisherman. I know his employer and I know he is the type of man to keep him on the straight and narrow.”
Judge Paul Kelly fined McLaughlin €200 for drink driving and banned him from driving for six months. He also fined him a further €200 for no insurance but added no disqualification on that charge as it was his first offence.
The remaining charges he struck out as the Culdaff man pleaded guilty