A court has found that a Carndonagh man who waited in his van for a taxi to arrive did not commit an offence under the drink driving laws.
Liam McClure of 33 Abbott’s Wood was before last week’s sitting of the district court charged with being drunk while in charge of a vehicle at Tul na Rí, Carndonagh, on May 7, 2018.
Garda Donal Corry told the court he was on mobile patrol at around 4a.m. on the morning in question.
He visited the Tul na Rí nightclub where he noticed a Citroen Berlingo parked in the car park with its lights on and engine running.
He pulled up beside the van, knocked on the driver’s window and spoke to McClure.
He said he could sense a smell of alcohol from the defendant’s breath and formed the opinion he was drunk.
McClure failed a breath test and was subsequently arrested and brought to Buncrana Garda Station where gave a reading of 54 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.
Under cross-examination by defence solicitor, Mr Ciaran Mac Lochlainn, Gda Corry said that McClure had informed him that he had no intention to drive the van. He told the guard it was a cold night, so he started the engine to get the heater going.
McClure added that he had already called a taxi to take him home as he knew he was unfit to drive. Gda Corry said that, a few minutes later, a taxi arrived at the scene. The taxi was being driven by the defendant’s brother, Paul McClure.
He told the court he was taxiing in the Muff area on the morning in question and had received a call from his brother just before 4am. Paul McClure said he arrived at the scene around 15 minutes later and the patrol car was parked in front of his brother’s van.
He tried to explain to the gardaí that his brother had called him to get a life home as he had a few drinks too many. The taxi driver showed gardaí his phone so they could see for themselves that the defendant had called him prior to their arrival.
The defendant then took to the witness box and was able to produce a mobile phone record to show that a call was made from his phone to his brother’s phone at 3:58a.m. He added that he had no intention to drink drive as he needed his licence to get to and from his work in Dublin.
When McClure was being cross-examined by Garda Inspector Grant, he replied “that’s f**king crazy”.
Judge Kelly warned him to ‘watch your language’ before adding that McClure was entitled to the benefit of doubt.
He proceeded to dismiss the charge against him.