Charity founder is banned from driving at a court in County Antrim for speeding

Charity founder is banned from driving at a court in County Antrim for speeding

THE founder of the Belfast outreach charity - SOS Bus NI - has appeared in court and been banned from driving for a month for speeding.

Joe Hyland (66), with an address at Adelaide Avenue in Belfast, admitted contravening a 30mph speed limit on August 6 last year.

He was caught doing 44mph at Antrim Road, Glengormley.

Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, heard it was the defendant's fourth speed detection in the last three years and he came to court with nine penalty points on his driving licence.

A number of references were handed in to court which a defence barrister said "speak very well" of the defendant's "charitable and philanthropic work" which he continues to carry out.

The defence barrister said the defendant accepted he deserved to be banned from driving but rather than a six months ban asked for the court to "exercise discretion in view of tremendous work Mr Hyland has spent his life carrying out".

The lawyer, Court News NI can report, said that if banned for six months "exceptional hardship would fall on others, not the defendant"

The barrister said the defendant has "stepped back" from SOS Bus NI which he had set up.

The court heard the charity has a number of buses and minibuses with hundreds of volunteers "and at their peak were responsible for feeding up to 3,000 people per week who were in need".

The court heard the defendant "is now responsible for more individual work" including "crisis counseling" at "any hour of the day and night".

The barrister added: "I think Your Worship can see how important his licence is to others, not just to him".

The lawyer said the defendant received an MBE in 2014 and a 'Champion of Belfast' award in 2008.

The barrister said the previous penalty points were for doing 37mph in a 30; 42 in a 30 and another detection at the Antrim Road in Belfast.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said it was clear the defendant had "done a lot of work for various charitable interests over the years".

The judge said he was prepared to "exercise discretion" and not ban the defendant from driving for six months.

He said the nine penalty points would remain on the defendant's licence as he disqualified him from the roads for a month along with a £500 fine.