Man with ‘selective amnesia’ found guilty of drink driving

first_imgA CULDAFF man has been found guilty of a drink driving charge after gardaí found him sleeping behind the wheel of a van that was parked in the middle of the road.Aaron McColgan, 27, who has an address of 92 Cara Bay, Culdaff and Lematudder, Culkeeny, Malin, was charged with being drunk in charge of a van at The Mullins, Carn, on 26 May, 2014. He was also charged with having no insurance, driving without a licence and obstruction.McColgan appeared before a special sitting of Buncrana District Court yesterday, where he pleaded not guilty to the drink driving charge, but accepted the obstruction and no insurance charges. The case has previously been adjourned before the court on twenty separate occasions.Garda Robin Hennigan told the court that at 3.20am on Monday, May 2014, he received a report of a white van in the middle of the road on the main Carndonagh to Quigley’s Point road.He said he went to the scene and found a Peugeot Expert van with the lights on and engine running parked in the middle of the road.Gda. Hennigan said there was a male asleep in the driver’s seat.“I knocked on the window, telling him to open the door but there was no response after doing it three times the male woke up,” Gda. Hennigan outlined.“The man gave as name as Aaron McColgan and upon speaking with him I noticed that his speech was slurred, eyes were glazed and there was a strong smell of alcohol coming from his breath. There was also an open beer can in the cup holder in the driver’s door.”The court heard that McColgan was arrested and brought to Buncrana Garda Station, where a subsequent alcohol test revealed a concentration of 52mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath – more than twice the legal limit.Gda. Hennigan told the court that he seized McColgan’s van as there was no insurance or tax displayed on the van. He said McColgan informed him that he had no insurance and was disqualified from driving.Garda Inspector Denis Joyce asked Garda Hennigan if there was any space nearby for Mr. McColgan to pull in instead of stopping in the middle of the road. He said there was a lay by just off the road.Defence solicitor Ciaran MacLochlainn asked the garda if he had a conversation with McColgan about where he was going or what he was doing.However the garda said he did not recall as it was five and a half years ago.Member in charge of Buncrana Garda Station Garda Michael McGrath said he read McColgan his rights, when he brought to the Station, following his arrest.He said at 4.41am a phone call was made to McColgan’s girlfriend to arrange transport for him when he was being released.However giving evidence in court, Aaron McColgan said he had no recollection of this. He said he had very little recollection of the night in general.“I don’t remember where I was that night, I don’t know how I got there, it’s not a road I would be on as it’s not on the way home,” he told the court.“I don’t remember driving I had no intention of driving – I knew I was drunk and that I wasn’t fit to drive.”Insp. Joyce said McColgan signed the custody record to prove that Gda. McGrath went through his rights with him.He argued that McColgan’s memory was ‘selective’.“It seems Mr. McColgan is suffering from selective amnesia,” said Insp. Joyce.“He says he can’t remember anything, or even remember ringing his girlfriend but yet there is it in the custody record with his signature – her phone number is even there,” he added.Mr. MacLochlainn argued that the State did not prove that McColgan had ‘attempted or intended’ to drive the vehicle. He said this is an essential element in a prosecution case.“This is an unusual case where the van was found in the middle of the road but no one asked Mr. McColgan how he got there or where he was going,” said Mr. MacLochlainn.“He was out for the count and says he doesn’t know what he was doing. He was clearly drunk but there is no proof that he intended to drive. We don’t even know if he drove to this point. I would say there must be a doubt in the case.”However Judge Paul Kelly said he had ‘no doubt whatsoever’.“When the Gardaí arrived he was stopped in the middle of the road blocking traffic,” said Judge Kelly.“There were ample areas he could have pulled in nearby if he wanted to sleep. The lights were on and the engine was running so logic says that the person intends to drive. The defendant was unable to assist the court in any way,” he added.Judge Kelly said he found that McColgan has a case to meet and found him guilty of the charge.Insp. Joyce said McColgan has a previous conviction for having no insurance in Northern Ireland, as well being drunk in charge of a vehicle. He said he was disqualified in Carn District Court for two years from October 21, 2013.Solicitor Mr. MacLochlainn asked Judge Kelly to adjourn sentencing as he was currently preparing another legal challenge to contest the case.Judge Kelly agreed to adjourn sentencing until November 19 in Carn District Court.Man with ‘selective amnesia’ found guilty of drink driving was last modified: September 30th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img

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