Kildare Garda convicted of drink driving

Naas District Court

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Kildare Garda convicted of drink driving

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A county Kildare based Garda has been disqualified from driving for three years after he was convicted of dangerous driving and drink driving on the N7 motorway.

Donal Meade (37), with an address at The Oaks, Abbeylands, Clane, is a serving Garda in the Kildare division.

He pleaded not guilty to the offence.

At Naas District Court yesterday, May 3, he appeared before Judge Desmond Zaidan, and the prosecution was handled by the solicitor, Geraldine Gilleece, for the State.

The Court was told Mr Meade was traveling at between 160-170 kph on June 18 2016 at the N7 at Greenhills, Kill.

Another driver, Michael Bowler, said he was traveling to Dublin. At around 8.45pm around Newbridge, he came up behind a car which was wavering on the road and sometimes indicating to change a lane, but taking a different lane instead. It was not doing excessive speed at that stage, he said.

 Mr Bowler said he slowed down at one stage because the car in front was speeding up. He said the car eventually stopped and he pulled in behind it. 

He called 999 for the Gardai.

Garda Ronan Mannon told the Court they he received a call about the incidents around 8.50pm. Along with a Garda colleague, Garda Nugent, he went to investigate.

He said he followed a light green Ford Focus and at one stage it was traveling at “high speed,” between 160 kph and 170 kph.

When the car stopped, Garda Mannion said he spoke to Mr Meade, who gave his name and address.

He Mr Meade’s speech was slurred and he was “extremely intoxicated.”

Garda Mannion also told the Court that Mr Meade “didn’t even know where he was.”

He said Mr Meade provided two breath tests, which showed he had a 99 mg breath reading.

Garda Mannion was cross examined about the procedures he used by David Staunton, BL, representing Mr Meade. Mr Staunton then made a lengthy submission to the Court on the procedures followed in relation to Statutory Instrument 398 of 2015, which deals with the rights of defendants to be dealt with in a certain language.

After adjourning to carefully study the section and the case law, Judge Desmond Zaidan said was not accepting the submission.

He held that there was no breach of the statutory instrument and the State had proven all charges.

At this point Mr Staunton opted not to call on Mr Meade to give evidence.

Mr Staunton said his client had no previous convictions and was “drinking excessively” at the time of the incident.

The barrister said his client spent four weeks in treatment for alcohol addiction after that and had “changed his ways.”

He said Mr Meade would lose his licence, and that would cause him problems getting to his work in the Kildare town.

Mr Staunton said that because he was in the profession he was in, there would be ancillary punishments, such as disciplinary proceedings.

Judge Zaidan said he accepted there would be other consequences for Mr Meade.

He fined him €500 and banned him for three years on the drink driving charge. On the dangerous driving charge, he fined him €500 and disqualified him from driving for two years. The driving bans will run concurrently or at the same time.