11 Aug 2022

Kildare gardaí quizzed over timekeeping in Naas District Court case


Kildare gardaí quizzed over timekeeping in Naas District Court case

The defendant's solicitor expressed his concerns to the judge. File Photo

A solicitor quizzed two gardaí on Thursday, July 7, over their timekeeping in relation to a drink driving case.

The two gardaí were cross-examined by solicitor Matthew Byrne during the case of Chillian Whelan, with an address listed as 3 The Village, Allen, Kilmeade, Kildare.

Judge Cephas Power was told by the two gardaí that they arrested the 26-year-old after he tested positive for alcohol in his system in the early hours of April 12, 2020.

They said that Mr Whelan had been driving around Newbridge and was subsequently stopped and breathalysed.

Both gardaí noted that he admitted to them to consuming alcohol, and his reading came back as 71 miligrams over 100 millilitres of breath.

One of them said that Mr Whelan was remorseful, telling them: "I did wrong, I’ll take my punishment for it."

The two gardaí said that when they arrived at the garda station, they observed Mr Whelan for 20 minutes, starting at 3.43am, before bringing him to the intoxicant machine.

During cross-examination, one of the gardaí admitted that he later realised his watch was out of time by four minutes.

In response, Mr Byrne expressed concerns to the judge that this may have actually resulted in a shorter observation period, with the time on the machine differing from the time recorded by the gardaí.

After reviewing the garda’s evidence, Judge Power said that he was satisfied that 20 minutes of observation had been properly observed.

His sentiments were echoed by Garda Sergeant Brian Jacob, who, after inspecting the evidence, told the court that he also believed the correct procedure was followed.

Judge Power noted the defendant's lack of previous convictions and remorse, and as such imposed a three-year driving disqualification and a €300 fine, to be paid within two months, on Mr Whelan.

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