Motorist successfully appeals drink driving conviction on basis she drove under duress

“I am satisfied on the evidence she was assaulted… She felt there was a threat of physical violence against her," the judge said.
Motorist successfully appeals drink driving conviction on basis she drove under duress

Barrister, Brian Leahy, said the appellant had been assaulted and was in fear at the time and only drove the car to get away from the assailant. Picture: iStock

A motorist successfully appealed a drink driving conviction and two-year driving ban on the basis that she only drove the car on the occasion because she was under duress.

31-year-old Lucy Maguire of Clonard Park, Waterford, was convicted of the driving offence at Cork District Court where she was fined €400 and disqualified from driving for a period of two years.

Barrister, Brian Leahy, said the appellant had been assaulted and was in fear at the time and only drove the car to get away from the assailant.

He said she realised very soon after getting into the car outside the Silversprings Hotel in Cork early on the morning of October 3 2020 that she should not have been driving and she decided not to continue and to reverse the car into a parking space.

That is when gardaí observed her driving and she was prosecuted for drink driving.

Mr Leahy BL said that he would not have expected the defence of duress to succeed if the appellant had decided that morning to drive all the way to Waterford.

Judge Helen Boyle said in her judgement: “This case is one of drunk driving. She was reversing into a car parking space in the car park of the hotel.

“Gardaí spoke to her and formed the opinion she was intoxicated. She is a person of good character.”

The judge referred to evidence of the assault where Ms Maguire was at one stage grabbed by the throat and she ran away in fear from the scene of the assault.

“All she knew was she needed to be out of there… She got into her car and drove around the car park. She realised she had too much to drink and this (driving) was not a good thing to do.

“(For the defence of duress) the person must genuinely fear or be under threat and concerned for their safety. It appears to me it is up to the prosecution to disprove that once the defence is raised.

“I am satisfied on the evidence she was assaulted… She felt there was a threat of physical violence against her. She drove the minimum amount before she realised this was not the best course of action.

“I am satisfied the defence of duress is made out and I allow the appeal,” Judge Boyle said.

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