A part-time shop assistant from Foxford, who when arrested on suspicion of drink driving became agitated and uncooperative and lashed out at gardaí — where he tore the shirt of one garda — and failed to give a sample, was disqualified from driving for four years at Ballina District Court this week.
Andrew Hamilton, Belass, Foxford, was observed by Garda Michelle Nolan and Sergeant James Murphy driving into the forecourt of Centra, Casey’s, Ballina, at 3.38am on March 22 2009.
The gardaí approached the parked car and noted that the defendant was talking on a mobile and when he noticed the oncoming gardaí Hamilton turned off the ignition and placed the keys under him. Garda Nolan noticed a smell of alcohol and when exiting the car Hamilton was unsteady on his feet. After the defendant was informed that he was being arrested on suspicion of drink driving, Hamilton tried to get back into the car, became agitated, and again tried to get away from gardaí. When brought towards the Garda van, the defendant repeatedly said that he was going to kill himself and was in an upset state. Garda Nolan noticed two empty vodka bottles in the defendant’s car.
At the station Hamilton refused to give his name and address, pushed out towards gardaí, and ripped one of the garda’s shirts before he was placed in a cell. When asked to provide a sample, the defendant rocked back and forth in his chair and said: “I don’t want to be here”. No sample was provided from the defendant.
Defending solicitor Peter Loftus said that the case should be dismissed as a bank statement from the defendant showed that at 3.38am he had withdrawn cash from the ATM, therefore gardaí did not see the defendant driving which led to an unlawful arrest.
Judge Mary Devins said that there was sufficient evidence to convict, and convicted and fined Hamilton €750 and disqualified him from driving for four years. Recognisances were fixed.