Town star loses drink drive appeal

IPSWICH Town star George O'Callaghan has lost his appeal against a drink driving conviction.The 26-year-old midfielder, who joined the Blues last season from Cork City FC, argued he was held too long at an Irish police station after he was arrested for drink driving three years ago.

IPSWICH Town star George O'Callaghan has lost his appeal against a drink driving conviction.

The 26-year-old midfielder, who joined the Blues last season from Cork City FC, argued he was held too long at an Irish police station after he was arrested for drink driving three years ago.

He had claimed this was partly because of a delay in finding a container into which he could give a urine sample.

But Judge Patrick Moran refused the appeal, meaning O'Callaghan, of Lisduff, Whitechurch, County Cork, will now start his two-year driving ban and must pay a e300 fine.

O' Callaghan, currently on loan at League One side Brighton, is not, however, banned from driving in England.

Defence barrister Donal O'Sullivan said the appeal was based on the submission that O'Callaghan was detained for too long at the Bridewell Garda Station following his arrest for drink driving and that this was a breach of his constitutional right to liberty.

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He said the gardai were not responsible for all of the delays but could be specifically blamed for 59 minutes of the total time O'Callaghan spent in custody.

Mr O'Sullivan said O'Callaghan should have been asked if he had asthma before being required to blow into the breathalyser in the station.

He said O'Callaghan was unable to provide the sustained breath required and eventually told the sergeant in charge he had asthma.

The barrister said this amounted to 36 minutes that O'Callaghan should not have spent in custody.

When the player then opted to give a urine sample instead, none of the jugs required for taking such a sample was available and one had to be brought from another station, accounting for 23 more minutes.

Judge Moran ruled against the defence on both arguments.

In relation to the jug, he said it was a simple human failing that they were out of stock in the early hours of that morning.

“Maybe they had a run on them,” remarked the judge.

As it happened, O'Callaghan was unable to give a urine sample when the jug did arrive. After trying for 17 minutes he opted to give a blood sample. This showed he was well over the limit at 201mgs of alcohol per 100mls of blood (the legal limit in Ireland and the UK is 80mgs of alcohol per 100mls of blood).

Garda Oliver Ahern testified he saw the defendant driving through a red light on the South Douglas Road at 2.40am on Wednesday, October 13, 2004 and he signalled for the driver to stop.

He said the defendant's eyes were blurry and there was a strong smell of intoxicating liquor from his breath.

Sgt O'Connor, now retired, said the defendant told him later that “he had seven or eight pints, a few shorts and a few cocktails”.