Irish Times, 21/09/2006
Michael McDowell "ranted and raved" to a drunk lorry driver that he had "made ****" of his driveway with a waste skip, a court heard yesterday.
Skip lorry driver Patrick Hayes (37) claimed an angry Minister for Justice made the remark after seeing him trying to manoeuvre his vehicle in the family driveway at Charleston Road, Ranelagh, Dublin, on July 30th, 2005.
Hayes, who admitted he had drunk half a bottle of vodka before going to do the skip job, was yesterday fined €800 and banned from driving for a year arising out of the incident.
Dublin District Court heard when that Mr McDowell saw the damage Hayes was doing with the skip and the lorry, he came out and remonstrated with him.
Mr McDowell then noticed Hayes had drink taken and called the gardaí.
Hayes, in a statement later to gardaí, said Mr McDowell was "ranting and raving" about the damage.
"He said I had made **** of his driveway and who was going to pay for it," Hayes said in the statement, which was read out in court yesterday.
Hayes, of Ballyfermot Avenue, Dublin, told gardaí that before going to do the McDowell job that day he had drunk half a bottle of vodka and beer.
After his arrest he gave a breath sample with a reading of 66 microgrammes per 100ml of breath, nearly twice the legal limit.
Robert Dore, solicitor for Hayes, argued that for the State to prove the charge, it should have called Mr McDowell as a witness because only he could give evidence as to time of driving, which was critical to the case.
The State was required to prove that Hayes gave a breath sample within three hours of driving and the only evidence of the time of driving was contained in Hayes's own statement which, Mr Dore said, was inadmissible.
This was because the statement, given after he had been through the breath testing procedure, was given without Hayes having been advised of his right to have a lawyer present.
The State solicitor argued that time of driving had been established by gardaí as a result of speaking to Hayes when they arrived at the scene.
Judge Angela Ní Chondúin said she was not relying on Hayes's statement but on the evidence of gardaí.
"I would assume when the Tánaiste made a phone call [to gardaí], they would answer it fairly sharpishly," the judge said.
She gave Hayes two months to pay the fine, or he would serve five days in prison in default.
She also agreed to a defence request to postpone the one-year driving ban to January 1st.
© The Irish Times