Judge hits out at police in drink driving case


Enniskillen Court House

A LOCAL man has had his drink driving case dismissed following an investigation that the judge described as ‘nothing short of abysmal.’
On Wednesday, Ross Neal (23) from Kells Road, Fivemiletown appeared at Enniskillen Magistrates Court charged with driving with excess alcohol in breath.
The defendant was accused of drink driving his black Volkswagen Jetta on Tempo Main Street during the early hours of December 2nd 2017.
During the case, two police officers gave evidence of how they had witnessed Neal get into the driver seat of his car which was parked in a lay-by. The first Police officer told the court that he witnessed Neal getting into the car, and observed the lights going on in the car, and the car being moved on to the street. When they approached the car, Neal got out of the car and ran down an alley and was then located at the top of a set of stairs and was arrested.
Defending Solicitor Michael Fahy said that the defendant had gone to his car to retrieve money, and at no point had the keys been in the ignition. Mr Fahy questioned the officer about the attendance of another male at the scene who had said that he had been driving the car, not the defendant and pointed out that this information was not written in the officer’s notebook.
Prosecution Barrister Ms Chesire admitted that there was failings in the police reporting.
The court also heard evidence from Lorraine Wiggins who Neal had called on the night in question and asked for a lift home.
The court was also presented with phone records to match this account and she added that when she arrived in Tempo to collect Neal, the car was parked in the lay-by, and not jutting on to the Main Street.
District Judge Des Perry said that this was a case where the level of investigation had been nothing short of abysmal.
He added that if the PSNI’s evidence is correct the car should have been badly parked, but referred to Ms Wiggins’ evidence that the car was not sticking out on to side of the road.
He added that he was not satisfied that about the movement of the car, and dismissed the case of drink driving, and also dismissed a lower charge of being drunk in charge of a vehicle.

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