23 Jan 2022

Offaly man has drink driving case dismissed on a technical point

Offaly man has drink driving case dismissed on a technical point

Offaly man has drink driving case dismissed on a technical point

A DRINK driving charge in relation to a driver who collided with another car was dismissed on a technical point after the court was unable to determine the time both parties were driving or the time of the accident at last week's district court.

On May 14 2020, Andrzej Przystalski, (24) 15, Tarleton Hall, Tullamore, crashed into the back of a Renault Megane car driven by PJ Ward from Kilbeggan.

Giving evidence to the court, Garda Reynolds said he attended the scene and Mr Przystalski told him he had consumed ''one whiskey, one big drink.'' He also told Garda Reynolds: ''This man no show indicator.''

Garda Reynolds said while he was dealing with Mr Przystalski, PJ Ward appeared to be having a heart attack and fell to the ground holding his chest. Garda Reynolds said he administered first aid to Mr Ward and requested an ambulance.

He said the ambulance arrived in 15 to 20 minutes. Once the doctor and paramedic arrived Garda Reynolds said he returned to the accused.

He requested a specimen of breath from the defendant and outlined to him the penalties. The defendant complied with the request. He failed the test and Garda Reynolds said he formed the opinion that the defendant was intoxicated and incapable of driving his vehicle.

He arrested him with the help of an interpreter who was a friend of Mr Przystalski and had arrived on the scene. Garda Reynolds said he put Mr Przystalski into the patrol car and took him to Tullamore Garda Station.

Garda Reynolds said the defendant was informed of his rights before he requested a specimen of his breath at the garda station. The result was 56 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.

Garda Reynolds said Mr Przystalski was then charged and released on station bail. He said the gardai's own interpreter was on the phone at the station when the defendant was charged.

Garda Reynolds had taken photographs of the accident location and said there were 10 metre skid marks where the defendant's vehicle had ended up.

He said the weather conditions were good and he had ample time to see Mr Ward's vehicle.

Having asked to see garda Reynold's notebook counsel for the defence Mr Staunton BL asked why some of the writing was in blue and the other in black.

Garda Reynolds said he had a four colour pen. But Mr Staunton said he was curious as to why there were two different colours in the one sentence.

Having viewed the notebook herself, Judge Staines noted that the change of colour appeared to be just in relation to a phone number.

Mr Staunton asked Garda Reynolds why he didn't ask the defendant to sign his notebook, Garda Reynolds replied that he omitted to do that.

Garda Reynolds said he took a statement from Mr Ward on May 21, 2020 at Kilbeggan garda station.

In his evidence, Mr Ward said he was proceeding from Kilbeggan to his parent's house on the Tullamore road. He said he indicated to take a right turn and slowed down as there was a pedestrian crossing the road. He said he was hit from behind and the impact pushed him ''a house and a half'' past his parent's house.

Mr Ward said he got out of the car to see if the defendant was alright and Mr Przystalski started shouting at him and tried to start the car. He then got out on the side of the road with his phone.

During this time, Mr Ward said he took pains in his chest. He said he was released from hospital at 7.30 that evening.

Judge Staines asked Mr Ward what time it was when he was driving. But counsel for the defendant objected to the question.
It was then impossible to know if the breath test on Mr Przystalski was carried out within three hours. She said she would dismiss the drink driving charge. The defendant still faced a charge of careless driving.

Mr Przystalski was described as a 24-year-old Polish national who works in the Kepak meat factory in Kilbeggan. Mr Staunton said he needs his car to get to and from the factory as there is no public transport to Kilbeggan from Tullamore. He has no previous convictions and was fully insured.

Turning to Mr Ward, Judge Staines said he was the unfortunate victim and asked if he had received any compensation.

Mr Ward said he received  €19,000 insurance compensation but was at a loss of  €7,000. He said the car was valued at  €28,000. He said he attends physiotherapy twice a week for back and neck pain. He has issues with his eyes which affects his balance and also suffers from concussion.Judge Staines asked if Mr Przystalski was in a position to get a credit union loan. She said she was anxious that Mr Ward get compensated.

She adjourned the case to July 14 to give time for the payment of compensation but told Mr Staunton she was not making any promises regarding what type of sentence would be handed down to Mr Przystalski.

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