A senior police officer was more than twice the drink drive limit when she crashed into a traffic crossing, hit a car and left the scene on Christmas Eve after heading to the shops to get some last minute provisions, a court has been told. Lisburn Magistrates' Court also heard that Chief Superintendent Patricia Foy (57) - who was off-duty at the time - “made a big mistake” when after having “two or three large gins" she chose to drive to her local supermarket for some last minute Christmas Day provisions, a decision which has left her 34 year police career "in jeopardy".
Foy is a former head of the PSNI's Professional Standards Division.
Appearing in person at the city’s magistrates court Foy, whose address was given as Brooklyn House, Knock Road in Belfast, entered guilty pleas to drink driving, careless driving and three other offences of failing to stop, remain and report following an accident on 24 December 2022. A prosecuting lawyer outlined how members of the public contacted police just before 3.40pm that afternoon “following a damage only road traffic collision” when a car collided with a crossing post on the Knockmore Road in the city. There was a further report the car, which had driven away from the scene, also clipped a parked car but the witnesses had managed to record the vehicle registration. That lead officers to CSI Foy’s home and when she was taken into custody and breathalysed, she gave a reading of 89, more than twice the limit of 35. Cautioned and interviewed, the senior cop refused to answer her colleagues questions. Losing his plea in mitigation, Ms Foy’s defence solicitor said she “wishes to express regret” and to apologise for her behaviour. “She has served the public and society for 34 years,” said the solicitor, conceding that she realises now that because of her actions “her career is in jeopardy”. “She made a foolish decision to drive a three-mile journey to the supermarket to buy last minute provisions for Christmas Day,” said the solicitor,” who revealed that CSI Foy had “consumed two or three large gins". He said there had been “significant public interest and a certain amount of unhelpful or unpleasant social media coverage” about the case “and that has had an impact on her”.
"She can remember obviously certain aspects of the day, she had consumed perhaps two (or) three large gins, made the foolish decision to drive, she has little memory or recollection at all of the collision at the traffic signal, or much of returning home.
"She has since consulted with a psychologist."
Judge Watters commented: "Of course, I think we all know that if you have too much to drink sometimes you don't remember what happened."
District Judge Rosie Watters described the incident as a "big mistake".
"I will deal with this defendant in same way I would deal with anyone else," she said.
She said given the reading and the fact that Foy fled the scene, the driving ban had to be more than the minimum. In addition to an 18 month driving disqualification, the senior cop was also handed fines totalling £450 and a £15 offender levy. She told Foy that if she successfully completed the drink driving course, the ban would be reduced by a quarter.
The PSNI said Foy was suspended from duty and it would not be commenting at this time.
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