Northern Ireland comedian banned from the roads for doing '114mph'

Northern Ireland comedian banned from the roads for doing '114mph'

COMEDIAN William Caulfield has been banned from driving for a month for speeding at '114mph' and failing to move out of the 'overtaking lane' on the M2 motorway in County Antrim.

The 63-year-old, of Rocklyn Crescent in Donaghadee, was also fined £300 in connection with the two charges he faced - exceeding a 70mph limit and 'failing to drive in a nearside lane'.

The specifics of the unusual second charge are that on December 5 last year the defendant drove an Alpha Romeo car 'on a road otherwise than on the left or near side of the carriageway having regard to the direction in which you were proceeding'.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said: "Never seen that charge before".

A defence lawyer said it was "staying in the overtaking lane for too long".

The defendant was not present in court, nor on a video link, and a guilty plea was entered on his behalf by his barrister.

A prosecutor said that at 10.10am police were on patrol on the M2 and were behind an Alfa Romeo "and the driver had been failing drive in the nearside lane despite numerous opportunities to do so, since Belfast".

The prosecutor said the driver accelerated to an estimated speed of between "110-114mph" and police stopped the car.

The defence lawyer said police attention had been drawn to the defendant as he had been "driving on the right hand side of the road" and "having looked at the bodyworn which captures the manoeuvres he did have an opportunity to pull over and could have done and didn't and I think that is, in itself, a technical offence which he has pleaded guilty to".

Regarding the speed, the lawyer said it was "very high" and whilst the defendant accepted it was "grossly in excess" of the 70mph limit he believed it was "closer to 100mph".

The lawyer said the estimated speed given to the court was "not calibrated" and was instead taken from the speedometer in the police car when an officer was "trying to catch Mr Caulfield".

The barrister accepted there was "no excuse" for the speed but the reason he had accelerated to such a speed, "at one point," was to overtake an articulated lorry.

The lawyer said the defendant works in the "entertainment industry which means he travels throughout Northern Ireland and the UK to various theatres and he owns a theatre production company as well which employs a number of people."

The court was told the defendant "needs his licence for his work".

The lawyer said there were already three points on the licence for "violating a red light at a traffic signal" .

He said the defendant had been driving for around 40 years.

The lawyer added: "I know the reading on the speed is very high but he has asked me to prevail upon the court to impose penalty points in the case".

Otherwise, the barrister asked for any ban to be for as short as possible.

Judge Broderick said: "It's far too high a speed not to impose a disqualification. I have been consistently saying in this court that anyone who drives at such speeds creates a danger on the road to other road users and themselves and there must be a deterrent element imposed by the courts in relation to such high speeds".

The judge said he took into consideration the defendant's "personal circumstances" and the "impact of the loss of his licence on his livelihood and give him credit for his pleas" as he banned him from the roads for a month along with a fine.