Christmas lights were drunken driver’s downfall

By Brendan Grehan

A DRUNKEN driver who attempted to flee the scene and jumped into a front garden was fined €1,000 and banned from the road for two years by Blanchardstown Court.

Andrew Phipps got tangled in the Christmas lights in the front garden, Judge John Hughes heard.

blanchardstown courthouse

Blanchardstown Court

Phipps, aged 34, with addresses at Droim Na Coille Avenue, Lucan, and Monksfield Downs, Clondalkin, pleaded not guilty to drunken driving at Droim Na Coille estate, Lucan, on January 1, 2019.

He also pleaded guilty to resisting arrest at the above location also on January 1, 2019.

Garda Thomas Conroy told the court that on the above date he observed Phipps driving in an erratic manner in Droim Na Coille. He said he directed Phipps to stop. Phipps then got out of his car and jumped into a front garden and “got tangled in some Christmas lights”.

 He said Phipps resisted arrest and his colleague produced his asp baton and struck Phipps twice on the legs before he was handcuffed.

Garda Conroy said he formed the opinion that Phipps had consumed alcohol and he arrested him on suspicion of drunken driving at 1.30am. He was taken to Ballyfermot Garda Station where he provided two breath samples which recorded an alcohol/breath level off 56 ml/100mg.

Garda Conroy told the solicitor for the DPP, Edel Golden, that when Phipps drove into Drom Na Coille “he took the curve at high speed on the wrong side of the road”.

Sergeant Martin Ormsby said he was a trained operator for the Garda breathalyser machine. He said he observed Phipps from 1.48am to 2.08am, that he had consumed nil by mouth for 20 minutes. Phipps then provided two breath samples.

Phipps’ counsel, Ciaran MacLoughlin Bl, put it to Sgt Ormsby that in the custody record it stated that the 20-minute observation period had started in the custody area not the doctor’s room.

Sgt Ormbsy told Mr MacLoughlin: “I had two drunk drivers that night. I may have confused them.”

Mr MacLoughlin asked for a direction on the grounds that there were inconsistencies in the 20-minute observation period as to where his client had been observed.

He also asked for a direction on the grounds that Phipps had been handcuffed.

Judge Hughes rejected both applications and ruled the defence had a case to answer.

Mr MacLoughlin said he was not going into evidence.

Garda Conroy said Phipps had nine previous convictions, four of which were for road traffic offences. On December 12, 2017, he had been fined €105 for careless driving.

On August 28, 2006, he had been fined €500 for dangerous driving.

Mr MacLoughlin said Phipps has six children with his partner and works as a painter and decorator.

He said: “He got hit with the asp, it seemed to calm him down.”

Judge Hughes said Phipps should apologise to the homeowners.

He said: “He jumped over their garden wall and got tangled in their Christmas lights. Your home is your castle.”

He fined Phipps €1,000 with a two-year ban for the drunken driving and sentenced Phipps to four months jail, suspended for two years for resisting arrest.

Prev Gardai discover dad asleep on top of street drug-deals
Next Parkrun is recognised for the impact it has on community
  • Walking miracle Karlee (8) thanks people for saving her life
  • Return of the flying ants!
  • Irish football supporters came out in force to remember Jack Charlton
  • Crowds gather to pay respect to former chairperson Brendan Moran
  • HSE launch Covid-19 Tracker App

We use cookies to improve your experience on our site, personalise content, provide social media features, analyse our traffic, show you relevant advertising and to target and report on ads. By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies that may process personal data for these purposes.