Judge Ann Watkin found that Damien Gilson drove while under the influence of cannabis, on Sept 8, 2010.
She also said he had lied in evidence, his driving could have caused “road rage”, and he should take anger-management classes.
Dublin District Court heard that Gilson had been tailgating and dangerously overtaking other cars before gardaí stopped him and found a half-smoked cannabis joint in the 4x4 he had been driving, along with more cannabis stashed in his sock.
The 35-year-old, who will be sentenced in June, had pleaded not guilty to driving “under the influence of an intoxicant” to such an extent he was incapable of having proper control of a vehicle, at Diswellstown Rd, Dublin, and dangerous driving at the Phoenix Park, on Sept 8, 2010. Jobless Gilson, whose car sales business has gone into liquidation, also denied three charges for unlawful possession of cannabis.
Witness Tim McNulty told Judge Watkin that he first saw Gilson driving in Dublin city centre. He claimed he “received a blast from a horn” and looked in his rearview mirror to see Gilson “shouting at me”. He said the 4x4 Gilson was driving later tried to move into another lane and gave “another blast of his horn”.
Mr McNulty saw the 4x4 “accelerating hard and changing lanes aggressively”. He said he drove through Phoenix Park and could see Gilson ahead.
Mr McNulty said Gilson overtook two cars when there was a continuous white lane and oncoming cars were forced onto a hard shoulder to avoid a collision.
Mr McNulty had been travelling at 50km/h, the limit in the park; he believed Gilson was going faster and called the gardaí to report dangerous driving. He agreed with defence solicitor Michael O’Connor that when he made a statement he did not mention anything about oncoming cars having to take action.
Garda Paul Doona told Judge Watkin he saw Gilson clip a roundabout after he left Phoenix Park. He pulled Gilson over. “I observed his eyes were bloodshot, his eyes were glazed and his speech was hesitant,” he said, adding there was a smell of cannabis in the 4x4.
Gilson handed him a packet of cigarettes which contained a “half-smoked rolled joint of cannabis”. He said Gilson told him “you are a fucking bollocks” before he was handcuffed and brought to Blanchardstown Garda Station. A urine sample taken from Gilson showed he had been under the influence of cannabis, the court heard.
In evidence, Gilson rejected claims he had been driving aggressively or beeping at cars before he reached the park.
He denied overtaking two cars in the park, saying he had veered around one which had been turning. He also claimed he had not been going faster than Mr McNulty and that he did not clip a roundabout after he drove out of the park.
Judge Watkin found him guilty on all charges and said she believed he had lied in evidence. She heard Gilson had four prior convictions, including two for careless driving, one for assault, and one for assault causing harm.
Judge Watkin said Gilson drove aggressively, “the sort of thing that results in road rage”, could have killed someone, and his aggression was “a serious issue”.
After hearing the verdict Gilson, of Raglan Rd, Dublin, told the court he had only been taking cannabis and “just a bit of that because my business went down the tubes. I was not smoking it when I was driving, that has not come across”, he said.
Judge Watkin said he should take an anger-management course as she adjourned sentencing.