Mass-goers forced to take ‘evasive action’ because of speeding motorist

St John's Church

PEOPLE leaving Mass at St John’s Church in Coleraine had to take “evasive action” as a motorist sped through the Heights area of the town, the local Magistrates Court was told.

Desmond James Kearney (22), of Hillview Park in Coleraine, was originally charged with driving dangerously on roads between and including Pates Lane and Somerset Drive on March 16 this year.

However, at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday prosecutors accepted a guilty plea to the downgraded charge of careless driving,

A prosecutor said police saw the defendant driving at speed in Killowen Street and as they followed they saw Kearney go along Pates Lane at an estimated speed of 60mph.

At one stage in order to pass a vehicle which had stopped waiting to turn right the defendant mounted a verge and continued to speed.

The prosecutor said people leaving Mass at St John’s had to take”evasive action” because of the manner of Kearney’s driving and police were so concerned they halted their pursuit to prevent any further danger.

Police later saw Kearney and he accepted it had been him driving.
Defence solicitor John Murphy said the defendant was driving an Audi car belonging to his parents as his own vehicle was off the road getting repaired.

District Judge Peter King said the defendant was fortunate prosecutors accepted the lesser charge.

Had it remained dangerous driving and been contested he would have banned Kearney for up to 15 months upon conviction, he said.

He said aggravating factors included how busy the area was at the time including people attending church.

Kearney was given seven penalty points and fined £300.

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