Presenter fined €350 for drink driving offence

RADIO and TV presenter Baz Ashmawy has been fined €350 and banned from driving for two years and a day after pleading guilty to drink driving.

He had been arrested following a minor collision with a stationary vehicle while he was parking his own car in Rathmines in south Dublin last month.

Dressed in a dark blue suit, Ashmawy, aged 35, with an address at Grosvenor Square, in Rathmines, yesterday pleaded guilty to drink driving at Upper Rathmines Road, on February 25 last.

Defence counsel Martin Dully told Judge Hugh O’Donnell at Dublin District Court that prosecuting Garda Anna Masterson had been notified in advance of the hearing that his client was pleading guilty.

Garda Masterson told Judge O’Donnell that Ashmawy’s level was 51 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath and confirmed that he had no prior criminal convictions.

The limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres.

Garda Masterson agreed with Mr Dully that the defendant was “extremely co-operative” and had caused “minor material damage”.

Mr Dully told the judge that his client, who stood up at the defendant’s bench but remained silent, was “very embarrassed about this situation”.

He asked the court to note that Ashmawy “wishes to apologise and is rather ashamed”.

Judge O’Donnell said that in light of the early guilty plea and level of alcohol involved he was fining Ashmawy €350.

The 2fm presenter was given “three months to pay” or else he would be jailed for “14 days in default”.

The judge also banned him from driving for two years and one day, and endorsed his licence.

Libyan-born Ashmawy, who is half Egyptian, declined to comment to reporters after the case.

On March 4 last, RTÉ suspended him for one month following the drink-driving incident.

RTÉ had issued a statement saying: “Given the age profile of the RTÉ 2fm audience and the number of people who listen to shows such as Baz’s, this is something that RTÉ cannot ignore.

“We believe this suspension is warranted to highlight the unacceptable nature of drink driving and the high-profile nature of Mr Ashmawy’s position on 2fm,” RTÉ said.

Mr Ashmawy, who co-hosts a 2fm radio show with Lucy Kennedy every weekend, made his breakthrough in TV travel programme, How Low Can You Go, and has also appeared in Celebrity Bainisteoir and prank series Anonymous.

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