suspended | 

PSNI officer gets driving ban after drinking ‘few large gins’ and crashing into traffic light

The senior officer, who was head of professional standards – the unit responsible for disciplining officers, ‘remains suspended’

PSNI Chief Superintendent Patricia Foy leaving Lisburn Courthouse after pleading guilty to a drink driving charge and receiving a fine with disqualification from driving (Photo by Liam McBurney/PA Wire)© PA

Liam TunneyBelfast Telegraph

A senior PSNI officer was more than twice the legal drink driving limit when she crashed her car into a traffic light pole during a Christmas Eve grocery run.

Patricia Foy (57) whose address was given as PSNI headquarters Brooklyn House, Knock Road, Belfast, appeared at Lisburn Magistrates Court on Thursday morning.

The defendant entered guilty pleas to driving with excess alcohol, failing to stop or report a collision and driving without due care and attention.

Foy is one of the most senior female officers in the force.

She was also the head of professional standards branch, the unit of the police responsible for disciplining officers accused of misconduct and would have sat on panels to hear allegations against others.

A PSNI spokesperson confirmed Foy “remains suspended”. They added the police have “no further comment to make at this time”.

The court heard police had been made aware of a damage-only road traffic collision at around 3.40pm on December 24 last year.

Foy’s vehicle had been observed turning right from Ballymacoss Avenue onto the Knockmore Road in Lisburn when it mounted the pavement and collided with a traffic light pole.

Eyewitness statements identified the vehicle and police were able to ascertain the last registered owner was the defendant.

Around a minute later, police received a report from another member of the public that a female known to them had collided with her parked car.

After arriving at the scene, police observed Foy walking from her vehicle into her home and after they spoke with her, the defendant failed a preliminary breath test.

She was then arrested and taken to custody in Musgrave, where she recorded an evidential sample of 89mg - over twice the legal limit - before giving a “no-comment” interview.

Defence for Foy said she had expressed regret for the incident and apologised, but said that though she had served the public for 34 years as a police officer, her reputation was now in tatters and her career in jeopardy.

They said she had made a “foolish decision” to make the three-minute journey to buy some last-minute groceries for Christmas Day.

Counsel said the defendant’s recollection of the events was patchy and said she had consumed three large gins before the incident took place.

They said social media comments on the incident had been “unhelpful and unpleasant” but that Foy realised she had made a mistake for which no excuse could be proffered.

District Judge Rosie Watters said the defendant had made a “big mistake” and that she would deal with her the same way she would deal with any other defendant.

Judge Watters disqualified the defendant from driving for a period of 18 months and fined her a total of £450, alongside a £15 offender’s levy.

She said Foy could reduce her sentence by completing the drink driving course and advised she would also have to re-sit her driving test.

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