Wealthy socialite loses appeal to have drink driving child home from playdate conviction dropped
Wealthy socialite Phoebe Malouf has lost her appeal to have a drink-driving conviction overturned after driving a nine-year-old home from a playdate after a dinner full of vodka.
The 39-year-old was criticized by the judge who rejected part of her high-profile lawyer’s argument, saying she was “foolish” and “very selfish” for driving drunk – and that she was “seven times more likely to drive people into a car accident that left her with so much alcohol in her blood.”
Court judge Christopher O’Brien told the Sydney charity and wife of pub baron James Malouf on Thursday afternoon: ‘You could have called an Uber…there were options’.
His Honor rejected Greg James QC’s argument that Malouf was a special case, saying: ‘I believe, Mr James, despite your comments, that a conviction should be recorded’.
Dressed in a lightweight cream sweater, cream tank top and matching jersey pants with a blue mask over her face and her hair in a ponytail, Malouf arrived with an entourage of five including her father, Sydney lawyer Stephen O’Ryan QC.
Malouf, who sat nervously in court as her attorney presented nine documents, later fled the John Maddison Tower court complex, sobbing and shielded by friends and family on the street after Judge O’Brien’s decision.
The court heard that Malouf jumped into her 4WD in April to drop off an elementary school friend of one of her three daughters at home after the child became “upset” and her own parents were too drunk to drive.
Socialite and Eastern Suburbs charity queen Phoebe Malouf was caught drink-driving after a dinner full of vodka, then got behind the wheel of her Landcruiser Sahara and dropped off a child on a playdate
Malouf Malouf, dressed in lightweight cream-colored clothing, arrived protected by a retinue of five, including her lawyer father, and later fled sobbing after Judge O’Brien questioned why she was driving a 9-year-old drunk instead of an Uber.
Crown Prosecutor Daryl Gunter told the court that Malouf’s recorded alcohol content in mid-NSW was one of the statistics for drink-driving, which also included 250 annual fatalities and serious injuries.
The death rate had dropped from 1,200 a year, but he said it was still “horrible” and despite Greg James’ submission “Malouf didn’t have the slightest bit of alcohol…you were really quite drunk.”
Mr Gunter wondered why neither Malouf nor the nine-year-old’s parents — who were “entertaining,” couldn’t have simply “taken a cab.”
Phoebe Malouf was arrested on April 8 this year, Malouf, after drinking what police described as “two glasses of vodka, lemon and soda of unknown size” and dropping off one of her children’s friends after a sleepover.
The court heard on Thursday that the young girl had become upset and Malouf, dressed in her ‘pyjamas and ugg boots’, had decided to drive the girl home 1.4 miles from Malouf Vaucluse’s house.
According to police records, the mother of the private school in Kincoppal Rose Bay drank the vodka while eating Indian food at home for three hours from 6 to 9 p.m.
She then drove her black Toyota Landcruiser Sahara 4WD with personalized number plates on New South Head Road and was stopped at 10:46 PM by an Eastern Suburbs Highway Patrol RBT.
Malouf, 40, drank ‘two glasses of vodka, lemon and soda of unknown size’ during a three-hour dinner between 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM, then was caught by an RBT at 10:46 PM
Malouf, the wife of hotel baron Jamie Malouf, was arrested and blew .088. After her conviction in May, she went to a police station to have a mug shot and fingerprints taken
The Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation committee member blew a positive roadside breath test, which later tested at 0.088.
When Malouf was unable to show her driver’s license, she was arrested and taken to Waverley Police Station in a police vehicle.
At 11:31 p.m. Malouf tested positive for drink-driving, her driver’s license was revoked and she was charged and ordered to appear in the local Downing Center court.
On May 20, Deputy Chief Magistrate Theo Tsavdaridis convicted Malouf and she then went to a police station for a police photo and fingerprinting.
Malouf, whose husband Jamie Malouf owns a series of hotels, including Double Bay’s Royal Oak Hotel, used her charity work to appeal to the magistrate last month for a reduced sentence.
Malouf’s attorney Petros Macarounas then told the court that she had been instrumental in raising more than $3.5 million.
Phoebe Malouf (right) used her multimillion-dollar fundraising campaign to reduce her sentence, then appealed in court against the “severity” of an $800 fine and three-month disqualification
Wealthy charity Phoebe Malouf hid behind an entourage after she fled a court hearing Thursday, where she was shot by a judge for drink-driving and potentially endangering the safety of others
Malouf, who police say was previously charged with drink-driving in 2013, was sentenced to pay a fine of $800, her driver’s license was disqualified for three months, with a further warrant for an interlock. on her steering wheel for 12 months, which is required to be fitted to her car at her own expense.
On Thursday, Malouf’s new attorney, Greg James, argued for the conviction and interlock warrant to be dropped because it was embarrassing to use the device in front of children every time she used the car.
Judge O’Brien granted the request and released Malouf, acknowledging that she had “recurring anxiety, constant shame and (was) burdened with guilt.”
Mr. James submitted four references, one from her hotelier husband, a letter from her oncologist, a record of her oncology appointments, and a report from a psychologist.