Claim that Garda radios and mobile phones may interfere with breathalyser readings.

Dr Christopher Nielson from Leixilip in County Kildare is claiming that police radio and mobile phone frequencies may have interfered with the accuracy of breath test readings. 

The claim was made in the High Court by Gregory Ryan, a solicitor for Dr Nielson, who was breathalysed in 2002 and charged with a drink-driving related offence. Dr Nielson later became aware that the intoximeter used to measure the alcohol level in his breath may be affected by police radios and mobile phones. Dr Nielson was in the High Court today to stop the case going ahead on grounds that the state had prevented him from fully inspecting the intoximeter used to record his breath alcohol count. 

The court heard that Dr Nielson's solicitor had received two letters from the manufacturers of the intoximeter. The first letter said that the user manual advises that mobile phones and radios should be switched off during breath testing. The second letter stated that the Medical Bureau of Road Safety in Dublin had not been informed about some aspects of possible radio interference.  Mr Justice William McKechnie granted an order preventing the case from proceeding until all the information was made available to Dr Neilson. 

The court heard that if further information becomes available, Dr Nielson may mount a legal challenge to the validity of the intoximeter as a reliable breath alcohol indicator.

A large number of cases are already on hold as a result of the legal challenges to the accuracy of the breathalyser device. 

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 3 January 2003. The reporter is Vivienne Traynor.