Newbridge woman's drink driving case was struck out
A Newbridge woman had a drink driving case struck out against her at Naas District Court last Thursday, June 21, after her barrister made the case that the charge against her was the wrong one and that she would unfairly face a longer disqualification from driving if found guilty.
Geraldine Cash, with an address in Roseberry, Newbridge was stopped on March 19, 2017 in the centre of Kildare Town. It would have been the prosecution’s evidence that a reading of her breath revealed a concentration of 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.
However, in a submission to the court before the case opened, her counsel David Staunton, explained that instead of being charged with Section 4 of the Drink Driving legislation, she was charged with Section 4.1, in error.
Ordinarily, if found guilty of the Section 4 offence, she would have been disqualified from driving for two years. But with Section 4.1 she faced a four year disqualification if found guilty.
While it was technically possible to charge her with a Section 4.1 offence, which involves having an intoxicant in the body as opposed to simply straight forward drink driving, because the disqualification was longer, it was unfair to her, counsel argued.
This was compounded, he argued, by the fact that that because Judge Bernadette Owens did not have any discretion in the length of the disqualification, she therefore could not take account of the fact that the defendant had been charged incorrectly and reduce it.
And it was for this reason in particular, he argued that the prosecution should not go ahead.
The wrong prosecution was brought because of an error he said, an assertion that Garda Inspector Mel Smyth agreed with, saying there had been a typo.
Judge Owens struck out the case.