Judge tells court he could not impose a ban on a man 'driving horses'

Judge tells court he could not impose a ban on a man 'driving horses'

A JUDGE said he could not impose a ban on a man "driving horses".

District Judge Mark Hamill was speaking at Newtownards Magistrates Court in relation to Felix Purcell (21), with an address listed as Gosford Road in Armagh.

The defendant is charged with driving a 'horse drawn vehicle without reasonable consideration' for other road users at Lisnevenagh Road near Antrim town and a second charge of driving a 'vehicle drawn by a horse on a road or other public place without due care and attention'.

The charges relate to November 20, 2020.

The defendant did not appear at court and the case was further adjourned to March 2 to give him a chance to attend court.

Judge Hamill said: "Tell him on the 2nd of March he will lose his licence if he doesn't show any interest".

When a prosecutor pointed out the charges related to a "horse drawn vehicle" the judge added: "Well I can't disqualify him from driving horses can I? Anyway, something is going to happen to him and it wont be good, on that date".

It is unclear if the case has been listed at Newtownards Magistrates Court in error and should have been listed for Antrim Magistrates Court.

Purcell's case was mentioned in Antrim Magistrates Court last year.

Last July, at Antrim Magistrates, Court, sitting in Ballymena, a judge hit out after it emerged a number of horse and carts were 'racing' on the Lisnevenagh Road - a dual-carriageway running between Antrim town and Ballymena.

The court last summer heard there was told footage of the race which 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, 2020, 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 - worked 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.

At the court last summer a judge 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 last summer were - Daniel Dundon (48), of Felden Avenue in Newtownabbey; Daniel Dundon (23), of Whitewell Road in Newtownabbey; and Felix Purcell.

48-year-old Dundon was 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 were 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 was 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, the Antrim Court judge had 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: General view of the Lisnevenagh Road from Google Maps.