Thurles District Court
A Thurles drink driver who ended up with her car facing at a right angle to other traffic in the middle of Liberty Square was banned from driving for a total of five years at Thurles District Court for motoring offences.
Garda Willam Lynch told Judge Elizabeth MacGrath that he attended Liberty Square, Thurles, on April 29, 2020. There was a female driver situated in the driver’s seat of a blue Audi, while the car was stationary but the engine was still running.
The driver, Denise Cooke, of 62 Rosemount, Clongour, Thurles, said she didn’t have her driving licence with her, said Garda Lynch. Ms Cooke told the garda her name was “Jasmine”. There was a smell of intoxicating liquor from her breath. “She immediately began to cry and she said she just needed to go home and meet her father,” said Garda Lynch.
Ms Cooke replied “no” when asked if she consumed alcohol in the previous 20 minutes. A roadside test showed a result of “positive” for alcohol.
Garda Lynch formed the opinion that Ms Cooke was so intoxicated as to be incapable of properly controlling a motor vehicle. Ms Cooke was arrested on suspicion of drink driving and conveyed to Templemore Garda Station where she supplied two samples of breath. The analysis showed a breath/alcohol concentration of 99/100. The legal limit is 22 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath for an experienced driver.
Ms Cooke was charged with driving with excess alcohol in her limit, and without valid car insurance. Judge Elizabeth MacGrath heard that Ms Cooke emailed the garda two insurance discs later, but Garda Lynch said a valid policy was “not produced”. Ms Cooke told the garda she had arrived at Liberty Square two minutes before he did, meaning she arrived at 9.23pm. “She was stopped, blocking two lanes of traffic,” said Garda Lynch. “She was at a right angle to the traffic.” Garda Lynch said he believed she had had a disagreement with another driver entering Liberty Square, and she “just stopped her car in almost a protest”.
“There was torrential rain on the night. She co-operated fully. She was an absolute lady,” added Garda Lynch. Ms Cooke did try to produce insurance but it was at the start of the Covid lockdowns so people weren’t coming into the garda station, he explained.
Judge MacGrath said she found the facts proven. Solicitor Colin Morrissey said Ms Cooke has no previous convictions. She had been driving for “many, many years” and cared for her father, who has passed away. Ms Cooke’s medical difficulties may have caused her not to attend the court.
Judge MacGrath fined Ms Cooke €250, and disqualified her from driving for the mandatory period of three years in relation to drink driving. Ms Cooke was fined €100, and banned from driving for two years, for no insurance. Ms Cooke had “plenty of opportunity” to provide the insurance but did not, said the judge.
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