A brother of model and TV presenter Glenda Gilson was today given a six-year road ban and a €3,000 fine following a dangerous drug driving incident.
Judge Ann Watkin also imposed a three-month suspended sentence on Damien Gilson (aged 35) who was found guilty of driving under the influence of cannabis, on September 8, 2010.
Gilson had been tailgating and dangerously overtaking other cars in Dublin before gardaí stopped him and found a half-smoked cannabis joint in the '08-reg Land Rover Discovery he had been driving, along with more cannabis stashed in one of his socks.
Judge Watkin said Gilson had prior criminal convictions for assault and careless driving, had lied in court and showed no remorse.
She said he was lucky not to be going to jail because of his aggressive driving as she imposed the sentence which was suspended on condition he keeps the peace for one year.
The fine must be paid within two years or else he will be jailed for 28 days.
The judge also directed that Gilson was to be on supervised probation for two years. She said he must not take any illegal drugs and can only drink alcohol when “permitted in writing by the Probation Service”.
The judge also made an order that he cannot be alone in a car while he is under probation supervision. “If the driver gets out of the car you get out,” she warned him as she finalised the case at Dublin District Court.
He had been convicted earlier of driving under the influence of cannabis at Diswellstown Road, in north Dublin, and dangerous driving at the Phoenix Park, on September 8, 2010.
Gilson, whose car sales business has gone into liquidation, had also been found guilty of three further charges for unlawful possession of cannabis on the same date.
At the sentence hearing, defence counsel Oisín Clarke said Gilson had been using cannabis to cope with stress due to the collapse of his motor sales business.
He no longer uses the drug, is not a drinker, and a road ban would harm his chances of finding employment, the barrister said.
He asked the judge to note that Gilson is apologetic; he had complied with an order to get help for his anger-management problem and was grateful to the court for making that direction.
Witness Tim McNulty had told Judge Watkin earlier that he first saw Gilson driving in Dublin city-centre.
He claimed that he “received a blast from a horn” and looked in his rear view mirror to see Gilson “shouting at me”. He said Gilson later tried to move into another lane and gave “another blast of his horn”.
Mr McNulty continued driving along the quays and he could see the Land Rover “accelerating hard and changing lanes aggressively”.
He drove through Phoenix Park and could see Gilson overtaking two cars when there was a continuous white lane and on-coming vehicles were forced onto a hard shoulder to avoid a collision.
Mr McNulty had been travelling at 50kph, the maximum speed limit in the park; he believed Gilson was going faster and called the gardaí to report his dangerous driving.
Garda Paul Doona told Judge Watkin that he saw Gilson clip a roundabout after he left Phoenix Park and then pulled him over.
“I observed his eyes were blood-shot, his eyes were glazed and his speech was hesitant,” he said, adding there was a smell of cannabis coming from inside the Land Rover.
Gilson handed him a packet of cigarettes which contained a “half smoked rolled joint of cannabis”. He said Gilson called told him “you are a f***ing b****cks” before he was handcuffed and brought to Blanchardstown Garda station.
He was searched at the station and a small bag containing cannabis resin and cannabis herb was hidden in his left sock. A urine sample taken from Gilson, who has an address at Raglan Road, in Dublin, showed he had been under the influence of cannabis, the court heard.