Court hears three police dogs were trapped inside PSNI van which slid on its side along road after officer had gone through red traffic light in County Antrim

Court hears three police dogs were trapped inside PSNI van which slid on its side along road after officer had gone through red traffic light in County Antrim

A PSNI van carrying three police dogs was knocked onto its side and slid along a road after a police officer caused a collision by driving through a red traffic light in County Antrim.

Paul Bradley (50), with an address given as PSNI Lisburn, admitted a charge of driving without due care and attention and was given nine penalty points and fined £400 at Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, on Tuesday.

The court heard the dogs were in cages inside the van and the vehicle had to be put back onto its wheels for the animals to be freed.

A prosecutor did not outline if there were any injuries to the dogs but the police driver and another motorist suffered injuries.

A prosecutor said police received an "automatic report" from a police vehicle indicating it was involved in a collision at the junction of Steeple Road and Stiles Way in Antrim town (main picture) on July 16 last year.

The police vehicle was a van taking three police dogs in "specially designed cages" in the rear and the defendant was driving in full police uniform.

No blue lights or sirens were active and he was not responding to any calls. The van was traveling along Steeple Road in the direction of Bush Road.

A Skoda Fabia going along Stiles Way towards Greystone Roundabout at the crossroads - which are governed by traffic lights - moved forward through a green light.

The court heard the defendant had driven through a red light and when a collision occured in the middle of the junction the police van flipped onto its side and slid "up Bush Road" where it collided with the front of a Hyundai Tucson.

The prosecutor said there was substantial damage to the Fabia and Tucson and the police van had "substantial damage to the side from impact and from sliding up the road".

The court heard the van was put in an upright position "to enable the dogs to be removed".

The Fabia driver was taken to hospital with a broken finger and also had cuts, bruises and pain.

The defendant suffered "bulging discs in his back" along with cuts and bruises. The Tucson driver was uninjured, the prosecutor said.

A download from the police van showed it was under the speed limit but did not appear to have braked.

A check showed the traffic lights were working correctly.

The court heard the defendant told police he was on duty as a dog handler and had no memory of what happened other than being "covered in glass".

He said the incident triggered PTSD which meant he was unable to view dashcam of the collision but he had been told by his solicitor he had driven through a red traffic light.

The prosecutor said the defendant said it had been a "momentary lapse" and wished to apologise to those involved.

The defendant was not present in court and a defence lawyer, via video link, said it was "lucky there were no serious injuries".

She said a lorry had taken a left at a filter lane on Steeple Road and dashcam footage showed the view of traffic lights was then "somewhat obscured".

She said the defendant has now been "medically discharged" from the police and there had been a "premature end to his career".

District Judge Nigel Broderick said the defendant had a clear record and had entered a guilty plea.

The judge added: "It is a serious accident and there was significant damage caused."

The court was told the defendant is appealing the sentence.