Man who suffers from Lyme disease has drink driving case dismissed

A man who suffers from Lyme disease had a drink driving charge dismissed at this week’s sitting of Ballina District Court, as due to this disease he was unable to provide a roadside breath sample which led to his arrest and a drink driving charge.

At 12.12am on July 10 2011, gardaí observed a car exit from a car parking space in the car park opposite the Pontoon Bridge Hotel. The car went to the exit, however the driver then turned the car and drove to the rear of the car park and pulled into a car parking space. John Coughlan, Cuilnakillew, Lahardane, Ballina, was the driver.

The defendant failed to comply in providing a breath specimen for a roadside breath test—he sucked the mouth piece and also blew onto the device rather than into the tube. Coughlan was arrested for failing to provide a breath sample and brought to Swinford Garda Station where gave a urine sample. The analysis of this showed 132mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine.

Solicitor for Coughlan, Michael Bohan, said that his client had no intention of driving on the public road that night but was just moving his car to the back of the car park. Mr Bohan said that his client had attempted to provide a breath sample, however due to the fact that he suffers from Lyme disease this could not be done. Coughlan’s doctor, Dr Nolan told the court that due to this disease his patient has problems in closing his mouth due to weakness in the muscles of the face and “would not have not been able to provide” a sample “properly”. Judge Mary Devins dismissed the case.


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