herald

Sunday 25 September 2016

Drunk found curled up asleep on the M1 jailed for two weeks

Peter Rogers
Peter Rogers

A chronic alcoholic who lies down in the middle of busy roads while drunk to try to get a lift home has been sentenced to 14 days in prison.

Last year Peter Rogers promised a judge that he wouldn't commit the offence again. However, the 63-year-old was found drunk and lying on a road last month, stopping an oncoming car.

Three months prior, on May 12, he was found curled up asleep on the M1 dual carriageway near Naul in the early hours of the morning while drunk.

The incident happened at 6.50am and the defendant was found lying on the side of the motorway on the southbound carriageway.

A fire engine was sent to the motorway, along with gardai, and Rogers was taken away, Balbriggan District Court heard.

Judge Dermot Dempsey said he had no option but to sentence Rogers to two weeks in prison to "keep road users safe".

"How many warnings have I given you?" asked Judge Dempsey.

"I am not leaving you on public roads. What if someone kills or injures you?"

Last year Rogers, who was fined for five similar incidents, was also banned from pubs for a year in the north Fingal area.

Speaking to the Herald last October after his fifth conviction, Rogers said there was "not a bother" on him.

"I don't need help. See, I didn't eat for a while but I'm eating now," he said.

"These things happen … I'm strong now. I'm back to normal. I got my energy back."

Giving evidence to the August 27 offence of wilfully obstructing a vehicle, Sergeant Tony Tighe said a car was stopped coming in the opposite direction on the R132 between Garristown and Naul.

It was late at night and the driver could not get around Rogers, who was lying in the middle of the road.

He was causing a danger to himself and road users.

When he was arrested, he told gardai: "I just needed a lift home. I am not a bad man."

"His modus operandi is that he lies on the road when he is drunk and when motorists stop he asks for a lift home," said Sgt Tighe.

Rogers, of Mallahow, Naul, Co Dublin, pleaded guilty.

Incoherent

Defence solicitor Fiona D'Arcy said the long-term solution would be to get the defendant appropriate treatment.

"He has never had any help and he has stopped drinking now," said Ms D'Arcy.

"He had been taking medication while drinking, which rendered him incoherent."

She said Rogers has asked to extend his sincere apology to the gardai and to the court and that he has no family support.

She asked Judge Dempsey to give him "one last chance", which Judge Dempsey refused to do.

Addressing the judge, Rogers said "I get taxis now. I won't do it any more."

However, the judge pointed out that this was not the first time Rogers was before the same court for similar incidents in recent years.

"This is an ongoing chronic situation and if someone crosses over him, who is to blame? He needs a lesson," said Judge Dempsey, sentencing him to two weeks in prison.

"What about the poor driver who could drive over him?" the judge asked.

He fixed bond in the event of an appeal.

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