Elizabeth Shearer, better known by her stage name Rebecca Storm
A well-known singer who lives in Naas has been banned from driving and fined after she was found guilty of drink driving and dangerous driving.
Elizabeth Shearer, with an address listed at Monread Close, Naas, is better known by her stage name Rebecca Storm.
The case was heard at Naas District Court on Wednesday, January 2.
Responding to a call to the station, Gardai spotted her driving on the Main Street in Naas on March 17, 2017.
Garda Aoife Leacy gave evidence at Naas District Court last Thursday that she saw the defendant’s car being driven along the street, swerving erratically and braking often and unnecessarily.
It also had its fog lights on.
She said that she followed the car as it turned left down the Sallins road and then right, into Monread Avenue.At that point the garda activated the blue lights and the car pulled over.
She said that the driver, Mrs Shearer, got out of the car, was unsteady on her feet and smelled of alcohol and that she leaned against the vehicle to help her stand.Garda Leacy said that she asked the defendant to give a breath sample twice. She told the court that the defendant twice made no real attempt to do so and no reading was recorded.
Garda Leacy arrested the defendant and brought her back to Naas Garda station.
The garda gave evidence that the defendant fell asleep while in the back of the patrol car and had to be roused when they got to the Garda Station.
Once inside the station, the defendant again had difficulty creating a sample. Instead of blowing into the machine, Garda Leacy, and her colleague Garda McMahon, gave evidence that she was “sucking” the mouthpiece of the machine and “kissing it”.
No reading for her breath was recorded.
Eventually a doctor was called to take blood. However, the lab which tests the blood samples found that the blood was congealed and could not test it.
Mrs Shearer contested the case. She and her husband Kenneth gave evidence that her driving was fine on the day and that she was not swerving.
They also both denied that she had stepped out of the car when stopped. Both insisted that the roadside breath tests were conducted as she was sitting in the driver’s seat.
Mrs Shearer assured the court that she had blown as hard as she could when asked during both tests.
“Nobody told me what was happening,” she said.
Both she and her husband, who was also breathalysed on the side of the road and prevented by gardai from driving the car home, denied that they had been drinking earlier in the day.
They told the court that they had drank some wine together the previous evening with their meal, and nothing since.
Mrs Shearer denied that she had fallen asleep in the back of the garda car. “I didn’t fall asleep. I probably just closed my eyes thinking ‘this is crazy’,” Mrs Shearer told the court.
The couple also denied evidence that was given by Garda Leacy that they had been asked to produce their insurance.
The defendant assured the court that she had been driving for many years and was fully insured on the day.
She said that she had lived in Naas since 1999 and was familiar with driving on all of the roads in question.
Her solicitor Andy Vallely made the case to Judge Desmond Zaidan that there was no evidence presented by the prosecution that Ms Shearer had actually failed any test and that therefore the state was depending on a ‘join the dots’ argument to prove that the defendant had been drink driving.
“No clear and cogent evidence has been heard that she was drink driving,” he said.“The court is being asked to take a leap of faith. There is a gap in the State’s evidence and it’s a gap that could be plugged with a certificate (from a breathalyser machine) which it doesn’t have,” he said.
He said he believed the case hadn’t been proven beyond all reasonable doubt.
However, Judge Desmond Zaidan said that he was entitled to draw reasonable inferences from the evidence and was of the view that the State had proven its case beyond all reasonable doubt.Mr Vallely explained that a ban would have repercussions for his client because she travelled a lot with her work as a performer.
Judge Zaidan fined Mrs Shearer a total of €2,600 and disqualified her from driving for a period of four years.
The Leinster Leader understands an appeal has been lodged.