herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Breath test statement invalid if not in Irish

A breath alcohol test statement is not a valid piece of evidence if it is in English only, a High Court judge has ruled.
A breath alcohol test statement is not a valid piece of evidence if it is in English only, a High Court judge has ruled.
Judge Seamus Noonan said that the statement made following the alcohol test had to be written in Irish and English

A breath alcohol test statement is not a valid piece of evidence if it is in English only, a High Court judge has ruled.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan said yesterday that a statement produced after a test had been performed by gardai on Mihai Avadenei (29) for a drink- driving offence had not been printed in Irish.

He said Avadenei, of Lioscianan, Swords, could face up to six months in jail and/or a €5,000 fine.

He said that in April last year, a first breath test was performed on Avadenei after he had been stopped by Gda Francis McMahon for driving at 80kph in a 50kph zone.

Argued

Gda McMahon had performed an Alcotest which resulted in a "fail".

He arrested Avadenei and took him to Store Street Garda Station where a further test, Evidenzer Irl, revealed a concentration of 54 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml of breath.

In July last year, during district court proceedings, Avadenei's legal team argued that the statement produced following the Evidenzer test was not valid because it was in English only.

Judge Colin Gibbons said the document had not been "duly completed" and asked the High Court for confirmation.

Judge Noonan said there was no ambiguity in the Act that when performing the Evidenzer test the garda must supply statements in Irish and in English.

"It is not evidence and cannot be admitted," he said.

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