The Supreme Court have upheld as valid, a decision made by a District Court Judge to throw out a prosecution for drunk driving (in a case where the Accused was charged with failing or refusing to provide a breath specimen at a Garda Station) on the grounds that when the Accused at the breath machine in the Garda Station asked to speak to a solicitor the Garda mistakenly thought they were prevented from giving in to the request and halting the breath specimen procedure (the State also sought to argue that given the demand facing the driver there was very little advice the solicitor could have given other than provide the sample).

The Supreme Court have endorsed the reasoning and law as stated in the Garda Custody Regulation of 1984 namely that an Accused can as of right speak with a solicitor at any time in the course of their detention.

In case of McCrea, this meant that the denial of access to legal advice in the Garda Station meant that the refusal to give a breath sample made after he asked for a solicitor was ruled out of evidence and the case against Mr. McCrea collapsed.

Previously, an accused had to show that the denial of a solicitor prejudiced the Accused person. So human and constitutional rights have been protected in this instance and the case will be of benefit to Accused persons.

A person under suspicion from the Gardai ,or any Government organisation with prosecutorial powers should never allow themselves be questioned without having taken specialist criminal defence legal advice.

See the attached judgement set out in my next post

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