High urine reading but man found not guilty

An Abbeyleix man who provided a specimen to gardaí showing a high urine alcohol reading had a charge of drink driving dismissed at last week’s court due to a garda delay in sending off the specimen for analysis.

The case against Tadgh Costigan, Spink, Abbeyleix, was also dismissed on the grounds that the arresting officer, Garda Wayne Farrell, had failed to explain in ordinary language to Mr Costigan why he arrested him on the night of April 19, 2012, at the Swan Road, Timahoe.

Garda Farrell told the court he found the defendant sitting in his car with the keys in the ignition, the lights on the dashboard switched on and the radio playing. There was a strong smell of intoxicant and Mr Costigan’s speech was slurred, so Garda Farrell formed the opinion he was under the influence of an intoxicant and cautioned and arrested him.

At the garda station, Mr Costigan provided a urine sample under the supervision of a doctor, and subsequent analysis revealed a reading of 228mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine.

Defence, Mr Colm Hennessy asked Garda Farrell why he waited five days before sending the specimen for analysis. Garda Farrell said he could not account for the delay, although he would have to check his roster to see if he had been off work.

Mr Hennessy made a submission to Judge Catherine Staines, pointing out that legislation dictates a specimen be sent for analysis as soon as is practical. He also said that no evidence had been given that the garda explained in ordinary language to Mr Costigan why he was affecting the arrest.

Mr Hennessy also queried the time of arrest, and the fact that the doctor’s form did not show the time the sample was given.

Judge Staines ruled against defence on the issue of times, but said that the gardaí should have been prepared with an explanation as to the delay, and Garda Farrell should have explained in ordinary language why he was arresting Mr Costigan.

The case was dismissed.


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