A man who was detected sitting in a car with two flat tyres and a branch lodged between the bonnet and driver’s door, subsequently failed a roadside breath test and was before Castlebar District Court this week.
Garda Patrick Forde outlined that on Sunday April 4 2009 at 9.30pm, while driving in the patrol car on the Castlebar to Ballinrobe Road the garda noticed a northern registration, blue Renault Megane, with its lights on, pulled into the left, partially blocking the left lane.
Gardaí pulled in behind the car and noticed that the two left wheels were flat and there was a tree branch lodged between the bonnet and the passenger side of the car. Garda Forde heard the engine start up, however when he approached the man sitting in the driver’s seat — Artur Rojek, Creagh Road, Ballinrobe — the engine was turned off. The garda formed an opinion that the defendant was intoxicated. Rojek failed a roadside breath test and a subsequent breath test on the intoxilyser machine showed 75mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath.
Defending solicitor Tom Walsh raised two legal issues in relation to the 20 minute observation period and the fact that the car was damaged was not drivable, and therefore the defendant could not be convicted of being in control of a mechanical vehicle.
Judge Mary Devins adjourned the matter to October 7 so the law on these points could be submitted.