A 22-year-old man appeared before Enniskillen Magistrates Court on Monday after being found asleep in his car in Irvinestown.
James Friel of The Heeneys in Donegal Town was discovered by police who were on patrol at 6.40am in the carpark of the Brownhill Link in Irvinestown on 23rd July.
When police approached the blue SEAT Exeo, they found Friel lying in the driver’s seat asleep. A policeman opened the driver’s door and spoke to the defendant and also detected a smell of alcohol. Friel told police he was in the area of attend the annual Irvinestown Truck Festival and produced his car keys from his front pocket.
Friel failed a roadside breath test and when arrested returned an evidential reading of 45mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath, ten micrograms over the legal limit.
Friel contested the charge of being drunk in charge of a vehicle at this week’s hearing.
When questioned by defence barrister Ciaran Roddy, a police constable said Friel had been lying horizontal in the car and seemed to have been awoken from his sleep when he was approached.
Friel told the court that he had travelled up to Irvinestown the previous night and went to a bar with friends before returning to his car at 6.40am.
He had intended to sleep in a bunk bed in one of the trucks but there had been no room and when questioned by the prosecution said he didn’t attempt to seek alternative accommodation locally as he thought it was too late at night.
“I intended to keep the car in the car park until 5pm that evening and was going to sit on in a friend’s lorry for the parade. I rolled back the driver seat’s and slept in the front of the car instead of the back because it was comfier.”
Mr Roddy said the onus was on his client to prove that he didn’t intend to drive. District Judge Nigel Broderick said this had been corroborated by the police who said he had been reclining in the seat asleep and appeared to have been awoken when they approached. The case was dismissed.