A 71-year old man charged with driving while exceeding the alcohol limit told the court that he had pulled in and intended to call his daughter.

Wednesday’s sitting of Falcarragh District Court heard that on September 22, 2014 Gardaí responded to a report that a man seemed to be asleep at the wheel of a car. Garda Martin Gallagher went to where he was told the car was parked, a lay-by on the N56 at Ballyboes, Falcarragh.

“I noticed a silver Toyota Avensis in the lay-by,” he said. “The lights were on and that the engine was still running. It appeared that the vehicle had pulled in off the road and parked erratically. I opened the driver’s door of the car and I noticed a single male who appeared to be asleep over the driver’s wheel.”

Garda Gallagher said he roused the driver who was James McClafferty (71) of Ballyconnell, Falcarragh. After assessing the situation Garda Gallagher arrested Mr McClafferty and took him to Milford Garda Station. A blood sample was taken which showed a reading of 205mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

Under questioning in court Mr McClafferty said he remembered parking on the night in question.

“I was very tired and I thought I might fall asleep. I had been drinking. I wanted to take some time to myself to see if I might feel better."

Mr McClafferty said he was going to call his daughter to take him home.

Garda Inspector Denis Joyce said: “I put it to you that you intended to drive home.”

Mr McClafferty replied: “I intended to call my daughter.”

Judge Paul Kelly said: “One could infer from the circumstances that the car with the engine running and the lights on was sufficient to show an intention to drive. However Mr McClafferty does say he was taking some time to see if he felt better. He said he intended to call his daughter. In the circumstances I have to give him the benefit of the doubt even if that is a very small doubt.”

The case was dismissed.

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