A PORTLAOISE man had a drink driving charge dismissed last week, because the gardaí failed to establish the length of time he had driven before he crashed his car.
Remigijus Kalade, 13A Stradbrook, Stradbally Road, was charged with drunken driving, intoxication in a public place and threatening and abusive behaviour at Rathevan, Portlaoise on March 14, 2010.
In her evidence, Garda Tara Reddin said she was on patrol with Garda Flaherty when they received a report of a single vehicle accident. When the gardai arrived at the scene, she said she saw a car in the ditch on the left hand side of the road facing in the opposite direction, towards the town.
“I examined the vehicle, there was no one present and the keys were still in the ignition,” she told Judge Catherine Staines.
Garda Reddin said a male came out of a yard near the scene. She said he was unsteady on his feet and she could get a smell of alcohol from him.
Kalade admitted to Garda Reddin that the car was his. He admitted to driving the car and claimed to the guard that black people had nearly crashed into him.
Garda Reddin claimed that Kalade became abusive towards the guards and he was arrested and brought to Portlaoise Garda Station.
At the station a doctor and an interpreter was called and Kalade gave a urine sample which was sent to the Medical Bureau for examination.
Defending, Philip Meagher, said there was no evidence of the alleged time of driving.
Inspector Martin Harrington said the call reporting the crashed car had been made at 10.05am.
“It is essential that time of proof is established,” Judge Staines said.
She said the positive sample was made after three hours had exceeded.
Allowing the defendant the benefit of the doubt on the drink driving charge, she reiterated to the gardaí that time of driving had to be established.
Mr Meagher said Kalade would be pleading guilty to being intoxicated in a public place, but said the evidence of Garda Reddin may not have gone far enough to justify a conviction for threatening and abusive behaviour in a public place. He apologised on behalf of his client for having too much to drink on that date and said Kalade would have denied admitting he had driven the car.
He was fined €400 for intoxication in a public place.