An unemployed hairdresser had her driving privileges trimmed for two years and her bank account shaved of €400 this week (April 24 ) after being found guilty of drink driving.
Karen Cornally (28 ), of Silverdale, Clara Co Offaly was pleading not guilty before a special sitting of the Athlone District Court after being stopped in Moate on January 4.
The court heard from Garda Keith Harrison, who had been on duty that night on Main Street, that the defendant's car was “travelling towards me, weaving in and out of traffic”.
“I turned around and followed the car. I observed it cross the white line and nearly mount a pavement,” said Garda Harrison.
He told the court that after stopping the vehicle, he got “a strong smell of intoxicating liquor” from the defendant and that “her eyes were glazed”.
Garda Harrison formed his opinion as to the state of the defendant's sobriety and arrested her at 3:29am.
She was taken to the Garda station in Athlone and intoxilised at 4:14am after the statutory 20 minutes nil-by-mouth observation.
Cornally returned a reading of 60/100 on the intoxiliser (the limit in Ireland is 35/100 ).
Solicitor Paul Connellan asked Garda Harrison who was with him that night as there was no mention in his statement of a colleague.
“I can't recall whether I was accompanied or not,” said Gda Harrison.
“So, your recollection wasn't perfect on that night?” asked Mr Connellan.
“I take notes relevant to the defendant, not who's with me,” said Gda Harrison.
Mr Connellan also questioned the fact that Gda Harrison couldn't recall who had accompanied Cornally to the toilet, as mentioned in her statement, or why this trip was not mentioned in the custody record.
“There's a period of seven minutes that concerns me,” said Mr Connellan.
“The evidence is not of a calibre that would be safe to proceed to conviction with,” he added.
However, Judge Elizabeth McGrath wouldn't accept this submission.
“In relation to the seven minutes raised by Mr Connellan, though Garda Harrison didn't have the details of who accompanied Ms Cornally to the toilet he did have it [the visit] in his contemporaneous notes [notes taken on the night],” she said.
“It is not an issue,” she added, before banning Cornally from driving for two years and one day, as well as fining her €400.