Judge challenges solicitor on drink driving case

A Mullingar solicitor has been given a month to find law which shows that a car being towed is not a mechanically propelled vehicle.

Solicitor Robert Marren told Mullingar District Court his client Jean McCarthy (41 ) of Hill of Down, Enfield, Meath drank alcohol after her car broke down, and wasn’t technically driving when she steered her car as it was being towed.

He described how Ms McCarthy, who suffers with depression, had been shopping in Mullingar when her car broke down.

Knowing her husband was watching a rugby match, she tried to push the vehicle off the road and drank some of the alcohol she had bought in town as she waited for the match to end.

The couple had been having marriage difficulties at the time, Mr Marren explained.

She then contacted her husband who didn’t immediately notice she had been drinking. He realised only when she braked outside Mullingar hospital as he towed her and because he was so annoyed with her, he contacted gardaí.

When Garda Gareth O’Brien arrived she was sitting in the driver’s seat of her husband’s jeep.

At the garda station she returned a breath alcohol reading of 78mg/100ml.

Judge Hughes told Ms McCarthy that her husband did what he thought was best for her, and because she is probably on strong medication, shouldn’t be drinking.

“He’s concerned about your future,” he said. “I’m absolutely certain he feels you’re better off the road.”

However, Ms McCarthy said she is attending AA and aftercare for her alcohol problem. And she said she needs her licence to attend these services.

Judge Hughes described the case as unusual and listened while Inspector Fergus Trainor said the towed car qualified as an MPV under law because it could be moved and Ms McCarthy used the brake.

He adjourned the case for one month for legal submissions to be made.


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