An unusual defence was used in a drink driving case in Ireland recently. The “hip flask” defence was recently raised in a drink driving case before the District Court in Limerick. This is a very unusual defence.
The defence is an interesting one as it is has been rarely used before in the District Court. This defence to a drink driving prosecution involves evidence being given by or on behalf of the defendant that, after the time when the offence was alleged to have been committed but before the taking of the specimen, he had consumed intoxicating liquor. Timing is key here.
In this recent case before the District Court the evidence was that the defendants uncle had given him a miniature bottle of whiskey prior to him providing a breath sample. The evidence before the Court was that the whiskey was given to the defendant as he wasn’t looking well and was sick to his stomach.
The Judge said he had to accept the whiskey put the defendant over the limit as the State could not contest the evidence. The case was dismissed even though the Judge said he was “gravely concerned there was cuteness and conniving between the Uncle and his nephew”.
Please note that each case turns on its own facts. Just because the “hip flask” defence succeeded here does not mean that it will be successful in another case.