AN off-duty police officer on her way home from a Shania Twain concert was kicked in the chest causing her to fall onto a dual-carriageway late at night after she intervened with what she wrongly suspected was a drink driver.
Ballymena Magistrates Court heard details of an incident on the Lisnevenagh Road between Antrim and Ballymena on September 29 last year – the date of a concert in Belfast by Canadian singer Twain.
Lisa Ayres (48) and her daughter had also gone to the Twain concert and were on their way home when an argument broke out in the vehicle causing it to veer across the road before pulling in.
The off-duty officer was travelling behind after 11pm and suspecting the driver may have been under the influence she also stopped and was being a “Good Samaritan” and approached the vehicle with the intention of removing the keys.
However, the driver of the vehicle, Charles Gibson (57) – kicked the off-duty officer in the chest causing her to fall onto the road.
Gibson pleaded guilty to charges of assaulting the off-duty officer and causing criminal damage to her phone as well as driving without due care and attention.
Lisa Ayres admitted assaulting her daughter.
The court heard an argument had erupted inside the vehicle on the way home from the Shania Twain concert causing it to veer across the road bringing it to the attention of the off-duty officer who suspected it may have been a drink driver.
A defence lawyer said Gibson, a long distance lorry driver, genuinely regretted his actions.
The lawyer said Lisa Ayres was “deeply affected” by what happened as what had begun as a night with her daughter at a concert had ended in acrimony.
District Judge Nigel Broderick said the off-duty officer had been “playing the role of a Good Samaritan” when she was assaulted.
The judge said the defendants had displayed “very poor” behaviour especially as the incident involved their daughter/stepdaughter.
Both defendants are from Haw Bank Park in Stranocum.
Lisa Ayres was fined £300.
Gibson was given a three months jail term, suspended for two years; seven penalty points; a £300 fine and was also ordered to pay the off-duty officer £1,000 in compensation.