Judge hits out after horse and cart race held on one of Northern Ireland's busiest roads

Judge hits out after horse and cart race held on one of Northern Ireland's busiest roads

A JUDGE hit out after it emerged a horse and cart race was held on one of Northern Ireland's busiest roads.

District Judge Nigel Broderick was speaking after it was heard three horses and carts were racing on the Lisnevenagh Road dual-carriageway near Antrim town.

Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena on Tuesday, was told footage of the race was filmed from a vehicle and posted on Facebook.

Details emerged as Christopher Knocker (43), of Hesketh Road in Belfast, admitted driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention.

A prosecutor said at "12pm" on November 20 last year police received reports of "horse and cart racing" at Lisnevenagh Road in the Dunsilly area and saw several vehicles with horse boxes parked up at Tannaghmore Filling Station with several males in the vicinity.

When police arrived a number of vehicles drove off and people confirmed a "horse and cart race had indeed taken place," the prosecution lawyer said. She said CCTV was obtained.

The prosecutor said Knocker was the driver of a Volkswagen Transporter which was the "lead vehicle in a convoy travelling on lane two".

She said the vehicle had been used to "record the race and the footage was uploaded onto Facebook".

The prosecutor said the Facebook video showed Knocker's vehicle remaining in lane two of the dual-carriageway and "on occasions driving very close to the back of one of the carts".

The prosecution lawyer said the defendant told police he was driving the vehicle.

The court heard "someone else hanging out the side of the vehicle" was videoing the race.

A defence solicitor said Knocker - who was not present at court - works as a recovery driver and his licence was essential for his job.

The defence solicitor said he had no instructions for three co-accused in relation to November 20. He said he believed they are "members of the travelling community".

Judge Broderick said postal summons had been sent to the three co-accused which would have to be returned to be personally served on them.

The three on the court list were - Daniel Dundon (48), of Felden Avenue in Newtownabbey; Daniel Dundon (23), of Whitewell Road in Newtownabbey; and Felix Purcell (20), of Gosford Road, Armagh.

48-year-old Dundon is accused of driving a motor vehicle dangerously and, being the owner of a vehicle, failing to give information regarding the driver.

Dundon (23) and Purcell are each charged with driving a horse drawn vehicle without reasonable consideration for other road users and also without due care and attention.

23-year-old Dundon is also charged with not having a licence authorising him to drive a Mitsubishi Shogun and trailer.

Banning Knocker for three months along with a £250 fine, Judge Broderick said the defendant "should have known better".

The judge added: "This activity is bordering on dangerous and needs to be dealt with firmly. It presents a danger to other road users.

"The public roads are there for transport, not for entertainment or racing horse and carts and not to have people participating and driving up behind them and videoing it as if it is some kind of sport".

  • Main picture: The horse and cart racing took place on this section of the Lisnevenagh Road between Antrim and Ballymena. Image: General view of area from Google Maps.