Garda statements in drink driving cases should be ‘personal and particular’

A drink driving case which was heard in Ballina District Court, which raised issues with regard to a garda’s statement as it seemed to follow a certain template, led to Judge Mary Devins giving a draft judgement at this week’s sitting of the District Court.

In the case of Gerard Sweeney, Carrabaggan, Knockmore, Ballina, who was charged with drink driving, the garda’s statement was factually incorrect as the date on the statement preceded the date of the offence.

Judge Devins said that in drink driving cases, where the prosecuting garda is also the investigating garda, garda statements should be “based on recollection” and should be “personal and particular” and not be drafted through “cut and paste”. Judge Devins said that statements “should not contain factual inaccuracies” and every statement should be “different from one another”.

“Justice must be done and be seen to be done”, the judge said. She dismissed the case.

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