A Dunkineely man, who drove through a garda checkpoint, narrowly missing an officer, has been jailed for three months, for various motoring offences, at Donegal District Court.
39-year-old Joseph Breslin, Castletown, Dunkineely told the court that he did not see four gardaí in fluorescent jackets standing in the roadway at a mandatory alcohol checkpoint on September 15 at Fanaghans, Inver last year.
Inspector Denis Joyce told the court that gardaí were operating the checkpoint.
The defendant failed to slow down and a garda had to be moved out of the way, the court heard.
Gardaí gave chase and arrested him for drunk driving and he gave an alcohol breath reading of 60 mcgs per 100 mls of breath.
This was almost seven times over the legal limit for the defendant, who was a specified driver with a legal alcohol limit of 9 mcgs of alcohol per 100 mls of breath.
The court was told the defendant, who has 20 previous convictions, had driven just two weeks after he was banned from driving in September 2017.
When asked by his solicitor James Canny, if he had anything to say to the gardaí, the defendant said:
“From my recollection the light was fading and I did not see any gardaí.
“If I had seen them I would have stopped”.
The defendant had alcohol issues but was getting counselling and was on anti-depressants, the court heard.
He had been doing a diploma in business administration in recent times.
Trying to stay off drink
The father-of-three said he was trying to stay off the drink.
Inspector Denis Joyce asked the defendant if he was telling the court that he did not see four gardaí in fluorescent jackets.
Inspector Joyce said that a Garda Kavanagh had to be pulled out of the way of Breslin’s vehicle.
The defendant said: “There is no way I would pass a garda checkpoint if I saw them.”
Mr. Canny said his client was not working and was living 14 miles from town so a ban would have a serious impact on him.
He was not in great circumstances and had medical difficulties.
Judge Kevin Kilrane said the defendant had been banned from driving in March 2017 and a judge had postponed this ban to September 1.
But, two weeks later the defendant was out driving again.
Judge Kilrane said the previous judge had been very generous to the defendant.
Given every chance
The judge said the defendant had been given every chance and he was a “danger on the road”.
He had 20 previous convictions and “he must go to jail.”
The judge struck out charges of failing to produce insurance or licence.
He jailed the defendant for three months and banned him from driving for six years on charges of drunk driving, dangerous driving, driving while banned and driving with no insurance.
All the sentences and bans were concurrent.
Leave to appeal was fixed at his own bond of €100 and an independent bond of €2,100 of which €700 was to be lodged in cash.