A 64-year-old man received three drink driving convictions at Ballina District Court this week after being detected drink driving in March and April of this year.
Michael Swartz, 75 Knocknalyre Estate, Sligo Road, Ballina, was involved in a traffic collision on February 28 2012 on Bridge Street, Ballina, at 12.45pm. A man who was parked outside a bookmakers observed the defendant reverse in order to park, however Swartz mounted the footpath and then collided with the parked car. The car owner got out to speak to Swartz, who drove away. Swartz later returned to the scene when gardaí were there.
On March 2 2012, the defendant was arrested on Clare Street, Ballina, for drink driving. A breath sample provided showed a reading of 104mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath.
On April 22 2012 at 12.35pm on Dillon Terrace, Swartz was observed by gardaí to drive continuously over the white line. He was stopped and a breath sample showed 28mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath.
The next day, at 2.17pm, the defendant pulled into the forecourt of Judges Garage, Ballina, and went to the shop. As he left he reversed into a car which was parked at the pumps and left the scene. CCTV identified him and he was arrested at his home. The defendant provided a breath test which showed 172mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
“Alcohol has destroyed his life,” said his solicitor John Gordon. Mr Gordon explained that during 2012, binge drinking caused Swartz’s marriage to break up and the loss of his business.
Swartz was recently given a suspended sentence at Castlebar Circuit Court.
Mr Gordon asked that a prison sentence not be imposed as the defendant is getting help for his alcoholism and AA meetings are ongoing. The defendant has not driven since the last detection.
Judge Mary Devins convicted and fined him €200 for failing to stop at the scene of an accident on February 28. For drink driving on March 2 he was convicted and fined €300 and disqualified from driving for five years. Judge Devins remanded him on continuing bail to October 22 2013 for consideration of a prison sentence.
For drink driving on April 22 he was convicted and fined €100, disqualified for one year concurrent, and remanded on continuing bail to October 22 2013. For drink driving on April 23, he was convicted and fined €300 and disqualified from driving for five years concurrent. Again, he was remanded on continuing bail to October 22 2013. For failing to stop at Judges Garage he was convicted and fined €200.