Police pulled up at traffic lights in Coleraine and were sitting beside a driver using a hand-held mobile phone to look up Google Maps and it turned out he had got lost going to the Giant’s Causeway.
Thomas Gallagher (31), of Oakfield Avenue in Derry/Londonderry was not present at Coleraine Magistrates Court but his solicitor Paddy McGurk entered guilty pleas on his behalf to a number of offences arising out of the incident on May 31 this year.
There were admissions to using a hand held mobile phone whilst driving; being an unaccompanied L driver; failure to display L plates; uninsured driving and possession of cannabis.
A prosecutor said police were on mobile patrol and stopped beside the defendant at traffic lights in the Castlerock Road area of Coleraine and observed him holding a mobile phone.
The court heard Gallagher could be seen typing into the phone and when interviewed the defendant said he was using Google Maps to find his way to the Giant’s Causeway.
Mr McGurk said the defendant had passed his theory test and had been taking driving lessons.
He said Gallagher and his girlfriend had come along the coast to go to the Giant’s Causeway but “got lost”.
The lawyer said the woman had been driving the car which she owned but she panicked when she got lost going through Coleraine and the defendant, being of a “less nervous disposition”, had got behind the wheel for a short time and was getting the help of Google Maps to get back on the proper road.
“He took a chance to drive a short distance to get out of Coleraine,” said Mr McGurk.
The defendant was given six penalty points and fined a total of £575.