Appeal fails in ‘man hanging on bonnet’ case

Coleraine Courthouse
Coleraine Courthouse

A man has failed in his appeal against a five months jail sentence.

Darrell Gerard McKeown (45), with an address at Craiglea Gardens in Kilrea, was originally sentenced in April but was released on bail pending the appeal.

At Coleraine Courthouse on Monday the appeal was dismissed and the original five months jail term, two year driving ban and £800 fines were affirmed.

The April court heard a man was hanging on to the bonnet of a car which crashed into a wall in Coleraine

Darrell McKeown was the driver.

A prosecutor told Ballymena Magistrates Court in April that police received a report from town centre CCTV operators that a driver had driven a vehicle into a wall at Castle Lane in Coleraine on November 12 last year and a “male had been hanging on to the bonnet”.

The defendant had been at the wheel and police saw him walking nearby and being unsteady on his feet.

The man who had been on the bonnet was lying on the ground with cuts to his head and was unable to get up, the prosecutor added.

Darrell McKeown failed to provide a specimen of breath to police and after complaining of chest pains was taken to the Causeway Hospital where he was shouting and was abusive to police and had to be restrained.

After being released from the emergency department he spat in a police cell van and called police “black b*stards”.

He then urinated on a cell floor at a police station and the urine “streamed under the door into the corridor”.

Defence barrister Chris Sherrard told the corut in April that the facts were accepted and there had been extensive CCTV coverage of the driving incident.

He said there had been “no attempt to flee the scene”.

Mr Sherrard said McKeown realised his actions at the hospital were “utterly unacceptable”.

The lawyer said his client had alcohol difficulties and on the date in question had a relapse.

Mr Sherrard said the defendant had spoken of his “deep regret” at the incidents.

The lawyer said the car is now permanently off the road.

McKeown was sentenced on charges of dangerous driving; failing to provide specimens of breath and blood, driving whilst unfit; disorderly behaviour at the Causeway Hospital and criminal damage to a police cell.

District Judge Peter King told the April court the disorderly behaviour was aggravated by the fact it happened at the hospital and added: “This court will not be slow to send out a deterrent sentence”.

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