Fine and one month driving ban for Toomebridge motorist

A motorist who was holding a mobile phone as he approached a police checkpoint has been banned for a month and fined £200.

Friday, 28th May 2021, 5:48 pm

John Stinson (61), of Blackpark Road, Toomebridge, pleaded guilty to using a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving in relation to November last year at Castle Road between Randalstown and Antrim.

A prosecutor told Ballymena Magistrates Court police saw the defendant in a Mercedes car and the court heard that after being cautioned Stinson said he admitted having the phone in his hand “but I didn’t realise the car was rolling forward”.

A defence lawyer said the defendant began using the phone whilst stationery as the hands-free wouldn’t connect whilst waiting to approach a police checkpoint but it was an automatic car and it had “rolled forward slightly”.

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She added: “This is not a case of someone driving down the road at speed using a mobile phone, he was all but stationary”.

The lawyer said the defendant is a taxi driver with nine penalty points already on his licence for excess speed offences.

She said the licence was “crucial” to her client’s livelihood and said a six months ban through the penalty points totting up process would have a huge impact on the defendant whose trade is picking up with the easing of pandemic lockdown restrictions.

The defendant was banned from driving for a month and fined £200.