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NEW: Drink driving case dismissed due to issue with defendant being handcuffed.





Case law cited by the defence calls for evidence of why the individual garda decided to handcuff the defendant

Republished from Donegal Live, 27 February 2024.


A DRINK DRIVING CASE has been struck out on the basis that no statement from a Garda who handcuffed the defendant was heard in evidence in court.



Mr CM, 34, of Belleek, Co Fermanagh was before Donegal District Court on Monday. 


Sergeant Kevin Brannick of Donegal Town Garda Station gave evidence of arresting the defendant on suspicion of drink driving at approximately 1 am on January 15, 2023 at the Diamond, Donegal Town. 


The Sergeant told the court that having been informed that he was being arrested, Mr CM started to walk away to his own vehicle.


Sergeant Brannick said he asked his colleague Garda Brendan Waters to handcuff the defendant, which was subsequently done. 


Mr CM was brought to Ballyshannon Garda Station where he was found to have an alcohol reading of 98 mcg per 100ml of breath.


The legal driving limit is 22 mcg.






SOLICITOR PATRICK HORAN cited case law which ruled that a Garda must make an individual assessment on whether a defendant needs to be handcuffed. 


“We have no statement from Garda Waters on that,” he said. 


The solicitor therefore submitted that the prosecution case was flawed.


Judge Brendan O’Reilly ruled: “It is a subjective decision by the Garda applying the handcuffs. I have to dismiss.”

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