DPP v Quirke

JurisdictionIreland
CourtHigh Court
JudgeJustice Aindrias Ó Caoimh
Judgment Date03 Mar 2003
Neutral Citation[2003] IEHC 141
Docket Number[ No. 2243 SS/2002.]

[2003] IEHC 141

THE HIGH COURT

[ No. 2243 SS/2002.]
DPP v. QUIRKE
IN THE MATTER OF SECTION 2 OF THE SUMMARY JURISDICTION
ACT, 1857 AS EXTENDED BY SECTION 51 OF THE COURTS
(SUPPLEMENTAL PROVISIONS) ACT,1961.

Between:

THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS
Appellant

and

MARIE QUIRKE
Respondent

Citations:

SUMMARY JURISDICTION ACT 1857 S2

COURTS (SUPPLEMENTAL PROVISIONS) ACT 1961 S51

ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1961 S49(3)

ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1961 S6(A)

ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1961 S38

ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1984 S38

ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1961 S40

ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1994 S12(1)

ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1961 S49(2)

ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1961 S49(8)

ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1961 S13(1)(B)

ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1994 S18

DPP V LENNON 1999 2 IR 402

DPP V GILMORE 1981 ILRM 102

ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1994 S10

ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1994 S12(1)(A)

DPP V BREHENY UNREP SUPREME 2.3.1993 1993/2/255

HOBBS V HURLEY UNREP COSTELLO 10.6.1980 1980/6/1106

DPP V BRADY 1991 1 IR 337

DPP V CAREY 1970 AC 1072

ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1961 S2(4)

ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1961 S6

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE ACT 1967 S01(1)

DPP V BRADY 1991 1 IR 337

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE ACT 1967 S12

Synopsis:

CRIMINAL LAW

Road traffic offences

Case stated - Drink driving charge - District Court - Evidence - Specimen of breath - Alcolyser test - Reliability - Possibility that test may have been unreliable - Opinion of arresting garda that suspect under influence of alcohol whilst driving partly based on result of alcolyser test - Whether opinion formed by arresting garda bona fide and reasonable - Summary Jurisdiction Act 1857 (2002/2243SS - O'Caoimh J - 3/3/2003)

DPP v Quirke

the respondent had been acquitted in the District Court of driving under the influence of alcohol on the basis that the opinion formed by the arresting garda that the accused was under the influence of alcohol whilst driving was based partly on the result of an alcolyser test which he knew could have been unreliable due to the fact that less than 20 minutes may have elapsed between the time when she had last consumed alcohol and when she took the alcolyser test. The District Judge stated a case at the application of the prosecutor for determination of the question as to whether, in forming the requisite opinion prior to making an arrest under section 49 of the Road Traffic Act 1961, a garda could rely on a positive alcolyser result where he was aware that the result may have been unreliable due to the fact that the suspect may have consumed alcohol within the previous 20 minutes.

Held by ó Caoimh J in answering the case stated in the positive that unless the arresting garda knew or had cause to suppose that the suspect had consumed alcohol within the preceding 20 minutes there was no necessity for him to wait for 20 minutes before he could form a bona fide opinion based on the alcolyser test. It was not sufficient to hold that the test was potentially unreliable especially where this conclusion was based upon the fact that the garda had failed to enquire whether the accused had consumed alcohol within the preceding 20 minutes as the garda had no authority to compel any person to answer a question as to when they last consumed alcohol. Accordingly, the opinion formed by the garda upon which the arrest was made was bona fide and reasonable. That was the issue for determination and not whether the result of the alcolyser test was reliable or not.

Justice Aindrias Ó Caoimh
1

delivered the 3rd March, 2003.

2

This is an appeal by way of case stated from a decision of Judge John Brophy, a judge of the District Court assigned to District No. 10, pursuant to s. 2 of the Summary Jurisdiction Act, 1857 as extended by s. 51 of the Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act,1961on the application in writing of the prosecutor (hereinafter referred to as “the director”), he being dissatisfied with the determination of the District Court as being erroneous in point of law, for the opinion of this Court.

The case stated recites the following facts:-
3

1. At a sitting of the District Court at Navan, County Meath on 25th July, 2001 Marie Quirke, the respondent herein (hereafter referred to as “the respondent”) appeared before me to answer three complaints the subject matter of three summons served upon her in which she was charged with the following offences, to wit. that, on the 16th April, 2001, at Durhamstown, Navan, Co. Meath, a public place within the District Court Area of Navan,

4

(a) She did drive a mechanically propelled vehicle, motor car registration number 92 MH 3833 while there was present in her body a quantity of alcohol such that, within three hours after driving the said vehicle, the concentration of alcohol in her urine exceeded a concentration of 107 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine contrary to ss. 49(3) and 6 (a) of the Road Traffic Act1961as inserted by s. 10 of the Road Traffic Act1994, as amended by the Road Traffic Act,1995as amended.

5

(b) She did drive a mechanically propelled vehicle, motor car registration number 92 MH 3833 without holding a driving licence for the time being having effect and licensing her to drive the said vehicle contrary to s. 38 of the Road Traffic Act1961and 1984, as amended.

6

(c) Being the driver of mechanically propelled vehicle, motor car registration number 92 MH 3833 did fail to produce her driving licence there and then to a member of An Garda Siochána, who demanded such production, and did fail within ten days after the date on which such production was demanded to produce such licence, in person, to a member of An Garda Siochána at a Garda Station named by her at the time when such production was so demanded, contrary to s. 40 of the Road Traffic Act1961, as amended by the Road Traffic Acts1968to 1965.

7

A copy of the summonses, which form part of this case stated, is attached.

8

2. At the said hearing the appellant was represented by Inspector Patrick J. Gannon of An Garda Síochána, Navan, County Meath. Mr. Colm O'Brian, B.L., instructed by Dermot M. Dempsey & Co. Solicitors, Athboy, County Meath, appeared on behalf of the respondent.

9

3. The facts as proved or admitted or agreed and as found by me were as follows:

10

(a) At Durhamstown, Navan, Co. Meath, a public place, at approximately 1.35am on 16th April, 2001, Garda Roy Dunphy, of the Traffic Unit of An Garda Síochána at Kells, County Meath, stopped motor vehicle registration number 92 MH 3883. Garda Dunphy asked the driver to produce her driving licence. The driver informed Garda Dunphy that she did not have her licence with her. She identified herself as Marie Quirke of Durhamstown, Navan, Co. Meath, the respondent herein. Garda Dunphy detected a strong smell of alcohol from the respondent's breath, her speech was slurred and her eyes were bloodshot and he formed the opinion that she had consumed alcohol. Garda Dunphy assembled an alcolyser in the respondent's presence. He then required her to provide a specimen of her breath by exhaling into the alcolyser, under s. 12 (1) of the Road Traffic Act1994. She complied with the requirement and the test proved positive. Based on his observations of her condition and the positive breath test Garda Dunphy then formed the opinion that she had committed an offence under s. 49( 2) or (3) of the Road Traffic Acts.

11

(b) At about 1.40 am, Garda Dunphy informed the respondent that he was arresting her under s. 49(8) of the Road Traffic Acts1961to 1995for having committed an offence contrary to s. 49(2) of 49(3) thereof. He told her she was being arrested for drunken driving and cautioned her in the usual manner.

12

(c) The respondent was conveyed to Navan Garda Station. She was introduced to Garda Goodman, Member in Charge of Navan Garda Station. Garda Dunphy informed Garda Goodman that he had arrested the respondent under s. 49(8) of the Road Traffic Acts1961to 1995. Garda Goodman completed the custody record in respect of the (Treatment of persons in Custody in Garda Síochána Stations) Regulations 1987. Garda Campbell handed the respondent a copy of Form C.72(s) - Notice of Rights, read it over and explained it to her. The respondent acknowledged that she knew she had been arrested for drunk driving. Garda Goodman stated that she could contact a solicitor of her choice if she so wished. She was told that a medical doctor would be requested to attend at the Garda Station in order to take samples from her.

13

(d) Dr. Gujral, a registered medical practitioner, arrived at Navan Garda Station at 2.26am. Garda Dunphy introduced Dr. Gujral at 2.28am to the respondent as a designated doctor and introduced the respondent to Dr. Gujral. Garda Dunphy, in the presence of Dr. Gujral, required the respondent to permit Dr. Gujral to take a specimen of blood from her or, at her option, to provide the doctor with a sample of her urine under s. 13(1) (b) of the Road Traffic Act1994. Garda Dunphy informed the respondent that a refusal or failure to comply with the requirement was an offence and explained to her, the consequences of a refusal.

14

(e) The respondent chose to give a sample of her urine. In her presence, Garda Dunphy handed Dr. Gujral a box for the taking of a urine sample provided by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety marked “U” together with a sealed jug. Dr. Gujral broke the seals and the respondent provided a sample at 2.40am. Dr. Gujral complied with the provisions of s. 18 of the Road Traffic Act1994in dealing with the sample. Garda Dunphy handed the respondent a yellow certificate and offered her the choice of either sample, informing her of her right to retain either. The respondent took the slip and one of the samples. The remaining sample, along with the prescribed form was placed in the box addressed to the Medical Bureau of Road Safety, which was then sealed. The respondent was released from custody at 2.57 a.m.

15

(f) On the following day, Garda Dunphy posted the sealed box by registered post to the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
3 cases
  • DPP v Slattery
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 4 July 2017
    ...again. On that date, a Superintendent Doherty appeared for the prosecution and referred the court to the case of D.P.P. v. Marie Quirke [2003] IEHC 141 as authority for the proposition that a garda is under no obligation to inquire of a person stopped at a checkpoint whether or not he has c......
  • O'Mahoney v District Judge Hughes
    • Ireland
    • Court of Appeal (Ireland)
    • 30 July 2018
    ...counsel indicated that there was a High Court case on the particular point, and it clear he was referring to D.P.P. v. Marie Quirke [2003] IEHC 141, although the case was not mentioned by name at this point. The judge responded ‘Yes, but it's not mandatory’, and that the Drager Alcometer wa......
  • O'Mahoney v Hughes
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 26 October 2016
    ...the test, her opinion which formed the basis of the arrest was undermined. In that regard it was proposed to rely upon The DPP v. Quirke [2003] IEHC 141 which had adopted the approach of the House of Lords, DPP v. Carey [1970] A.C. 1072 to the same issue. 29 In Quirke the accused was arrest......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT