Wednesday 22 May 2019

'I wasn't blotto or anything' - stylist to the stars furious after brush with law over drink-driving

Zero-tolerance policy is having a terrible effect on business in this country, top hairdresser David Marshall tells barry egan

Hairdresser David Marshall on the motorcycle he was riding when he was arrested on suspicion of drink driving
Hairdresser David Marshall on the motorcycle he was riding when he was arrested on suspicion of drink driving

ireland's most famous hairdresser, David Marshall, is unrepentant after being banned from the roads for four years last week for a drink driving offence over Christmas. "Look, I wasn't blotto, I was fine," Mr Marshall, who was also fined €4,000, told me on Friday afternoon in reference to his brush with the law.

On December 29, he was arrested on suspicion of being intoxicated while driving his Harley Davidson motorbike and taken to Store Street Garda Station.

"Don't hang me here, but the law is wrong. The law should be changed," says the celebrity hairdresser who has a previous drink driving conviction from 1992. "This zero tolerance thing is a joke. It is because of these things that the pubs and the golf-course bars are empty across Ireland. It is ridiculous. Something should be done. That's why the golf clubs are empty; that's why the bars are not doing the business any more, " he said."They had to take me in. It was procedure. They had to get me to go to the station to blow into the bag. It took me a few blows."

(Garda Sinead Hilliard said that he was given four chances to blow into the bag. He said he only had one go and thought it was successful. When he was asked to do it again, Mr Marshall said: "I've done enough".)

"I was shocked that I was over the limit," he says now. "I said to the guard there was no way I could be over the limit."

But the hairdresser, who has cut the likes of Bono's hair in the past, was convicted and banned for four years under the drink-driving laws.

"I had a few pints of Guinness after I played a round of golf at the Royal Dublin," he says.

"I played a few games of snooker and I won at the snooker, and I normally wouldn't go to the bar," he says. "It was Christmas time, festive season, and I had two pints of Guinness and a glass of Guinness. What's the big deal?

"There's no justice in this land," he added. "No justice at all in Ireland. Where's the justice?

"I was facing a losing wicket from the moment that I went into that court."

According to court reports, Mr Marshall was taken to Store Street garda station, where he was asked to use the intoxiliser machine. The court heard that after he was instructed to blow into it by Gda Hilliard, he was given four attempts to breathe into the apparatus.

However, he claimed that on one attempt, Gda Hilliard said "perfect" and he had understood this to mean that he had completed the test.

But in court he was convicted of "failing" or refusing to give a breath test, which carries a mandatory four-year driving ban. Mr Marshall said in court that he had to support two families on just €1,000 a week.

"His circumstances aren't great but they can't be that bad if he is driving a Harley Davidson," said Judge Anne Watkins in reply.

"Look, Barry, I was not blotto or anything like that," he says. "I would never get on my Harley if I couldn't control it perfectly well. I'm not that type of person who would drive if I was blotto. I wasn't all over the place. If I was blotto, I'd understand (why he was arrested). I wasn't blotto.

"I had two pints of Guinness and then a glass of Guinness and a toasted sandwich. I said to the guard that I couldn't be over the limit on what I had drunk. I'm a big man."

Ironically, in the same week that he appeared in court, his son by his ex-wife Jackie Rafter, Daniel, was ordered by Dun Laoghaire District court to pay a donation of €500 after throwing a can of beer at a garda car earlier this year.

"He is a good guy, a good kid," Mr Marshall says of his 20-year-old son.

"He didn't mean it. He was going through a bit of a bad patch. It'll never happen again. He was a bit angry at the world over broken marriages and things like that. He is working with me here," he says, referring to Daniel training at the David Marshall School of Hairdressing. "He is very artistic and he is going to be great here."

"I'm completely devastated," Daniel's mother, Jackie, told me. "But Daniel is on the right track now. It won't happen again. He was really upset. He is sorry that it happened at all. He only threw the beer can at the garda car to attract their attention because he was being verbally threatened on the road by three guys," Jackie claims. "He was going through some girlfriend trouble. He broke up with his girlfriend. They got back together since."

"He is a very talented kid," Jackie says. "if Daniel's father wasn't a well-known hairdresser, it wouldn't have been in the papers."

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