Written Answers. - Garda Investigations.

Ivor Callely

Question:

132 Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Justice the normal Garda procedures that apply when a serious or fatal accident occurs; the Garda action or interview which is conducted with the driver of a motor vehicle when involved in such a serious fatal accident with a pedestrian; if the motorist is interviewed in the local Garda station; the line of questioning; if urine or blood samples are taken; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9299/97]

I am informed by the Garda Authorities that instructions are issued to all gardaí concerning road traffic accident cases. The decision as to the appropriate action and manner of the investigation to be taken by the gardaí in a particular case depends on the circumstances surrounding that accident.

The fact that a motor vehicle is in collision with a pedestrian is not in itself an offence. The garda will collect all evidence and take statements from witnesses in order to complete the Garda file for the information of the DPP who, in turn, will issue his directions in regard to the question of prosecutions. The motorist may or may not be arrested at the scene, again depending on the circumstances and the evidence available at the time. If a person is not arrested, he may or may not be interviewed at the local Garda station.

He may go there by appointment but there is no obligation on him to do so. The question of urine or blood samples does not arise unless the investigating garda has arrested him for drunken driving in which case the arrested person is obliged to provide a urine sample or have a blood sample taken from him.

On completion of the Garda investigation file, which would consist of statements by the parties involved, statements of witnesses including forensic scientific or vehicle inspection reports, it is forwarded to the DPP for his direction as to the question of prosecutions.
All driving cases involving death are submitted to the DPP except accidents where there is no surviving driver. It is the case that there are occasions when dangerous driving charges are preferred when no collision has occurred. It is also the case that very serious accidents involving death or serious injury can occur without any prosecution being warranted. The fact that a person is killed or seriously injured has in itself no bearing on the decision to prosecute or not. That decision depends entirely on an appraisal of the evidence of the manner of driving involved.