15 Aug 2022

Tipperary gardaí switch providers for out-of-hours drink driving tests due to delays

Tipperary gardaí switch providers for out-of-hours drink driving tests due to delays

Tipperary gardaí switch providers for out-of-hours drink driving tests due to delays

The gardaí in Nenagh have switched from a local doctor out-of-hours service to a private company to take blood and urine samples from suspected drink drivers, it emerged at Nenagh Court last Friday.

The court heard that the switch from the local Shannondoc service to a private company was due to occasional delays in getting a member of the medical profession to attend the station within the specified time allowed in which to take samples.

The gardaí have three hours in which to obtain a sample after which issues around unlawful detention can arise and the case may be dismissed in the district court.

During a case at the court on July 2, the gardai stated that a person suspected of drink driving on the outskirts of the town in July 2019 was arrested at 1.24am and brought to the station at 1.30am.

However, there was no garda available to conduct an Evidenzer test and the decision was made to contact Shannondoc. The Evidenzer machine in a Garda station is used to take a breath specimen from suspected drink drivers, but must be used by a garda trained in its use.

The court heard that at least one other call was made to Shannondoc to get an estimated time of their arrival.

A Shannondoc doctor did not take either a blood or urine sample until 3.40am, having arrived in the Garda station at 3.31am.

Kenny Kerins, BL, told Judge Elizabeth MacGrath that the one issue he would have raised in defence was the time delay.

However, Insp Amanda Reynolds told the court that the gardaí had since switched from Shannondoc to the private company because of delays.

The court that when the gardaí contacted Shannondoc they could be on a waiting list if a more important medical emergency arrived. They often found themselves being pushed down the priority queue.

They had now moved to rectify this by using the private company who would provide a doctor within a number of miles radius.

Judge MacGrath agreed that waiting for a doctor to arrive came down to a question of detention and may lead to unlawful detention.

While Shannondoc had been contacted by the gardaí at the Garda station, when they arrived was outside Garda control.

She noted the gardaí had since changed the process.

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