Portlaoise man drove home after drinking

A Portlaoise man convicted of drink driving whose case took four court appearances before he entered a plea of guilty was last week fined and disqualified from driving.

A Portlaoise man convicted of drink driving whose case took four court appearances before he entered a plea of guilty was last week fined and disqualified from driving.

Robert Mullen, with an address listed at 157 The Hermitage, Portlaoise, was charged with exceeding the alcohol limit while driving, at Main Street, Portlaoise, on June 30 this year.

Inspector Aidan Farrelly gave evidence that the defendant was stopped driving on the Main Street and arrested for drink driving. He was brought to the garda station, where an intoxilyser test returned a reading of 70mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath.

Mullen has no previous convictions.

Defence for Mullen was Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick.

Ms Fitzpatrick said that her client had cooperated fully with the gardaí when arrested.

“He’s not proud of the position he’s put himself in,” she said.

Ms Fitzpatrick said that Mullen, a debt counsellor by occupation, had been out socially on the night with one of his teenaged children. An issue arose outside a nightclub and Mullen felt it would be safer to drive home.

Ms Fitzpatrick asked Judge Catherine Staines to consider postponing her client’s road ban, as he needed his licence for his work.

However, Judge Staines noted that this was the case’s fourth day before the court and she chided Mullen for wasting court time.

“There were two dates for hearing on this case,” said the judge. “The court set aside a full hour to hear this case and now’s there’s a plea.”

Ms Fitzpatrick said that defence had needed time to look at the statements provided by the gardaí.

“We did notify the gardaí, but we should have notified the court,” admitted Ms Fitzpatrick.

“Yes, you should have notified the court,” said Judge Staines.

Mullen was fined €300 and disqualified from driving for three years. The disqualification was postponed for three months.