Judge won’t reject drink-drive cases

A judge has refused to strike out approximately 45 cases of alleged drink-driving because of an ongoing delay in hearing them.

The cases were due to be mentioned at Letterkenny District Court in Co Donegal yesterday.

They have been delayed for a number of months following a challenge being heard in the Supreme Court.

As highlighted in yesterday’s Irish Examiner, the legal challenge was taken by a Romanian man, Mihai Avadanei, over his 2014 prosecution for alleged drink-driving in Dublin.

The case is being taken on claims that the print-out from the intoxilyser machine operated by gardaí should be in both English and Irish, as written in the Road Traffic Act, 2010.

Up to 30 similar cases were struck out last week in Dungarvan after Judge Terence Finn said a considerable amount of time had passed since the legal matter was before the courts and it would be unsafe to now hear the cases.

Solicitor Ciaran Mac Lochlainn raised the issue on behalf of one client and asked Judge Paul Kelly to strike out the case because of the delay in hearing it.

More than 45 cases of alleged drink-driving were due to be mentioned.

However, Garda Inspector Michael Harrison,head of the Donegal Traffic Corps, said that, in most of the cases, justice has not been delayed.

He added that the decision by the Supreme Court is a matter of public interest.

Mr MacLochlainn said there was the issue that the delays were costing clients money in dealing with their solicitors on the matter.

However, Judge Paul Kelly said that was an issue between defendants and their solicitors. He said he was not acceding to Mr MacLochlainn’s application and he adjourned all cases until December 21.

He added: “These adjournments have been facilitated by the courts and it would be unfair to simply strike them all out at this stage.”

Gardaí did strike out one pending case after it was found that the accused had since passed away.


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