Belfast Telegraph

Leading loyalist found guilty of careless driving

By Maureen Coleman
01 February 2005

East Belfast loyalist Jim Gray has been fined £150 for careless driving.

Gray (46), from Cherryvalley, had denied that the car he was driving struck a police officer on the hand as he directed traffic on the Newtownards Road.

But a guilty verdict was delivered yesterday by an RM.

The police officer, who has since left the force, told the court that the incident occurred in the evening of October 25, 2003.

The former policeman said he was at the scene of a collision between two cars at the Newtownards Road/Bloomfield Road junction when Gray's red BMW approached.

He said he signalled for the car to stop, but its speed did not fluctuate and Gray did not obey his signal.

He also claimed that he stepped out of the way to avoid a collision with the car, but that the driver's wing mirror struck him on the right hand.

The car then continued on, where it stopped at traffic lights at the junction with the Albertbridge Road.

The incident was reported to a second police officer at the scene and the duty controller.

The officer later went to the Ulster Hospital, to be treated for bruising to the hand.

Gray's defence counsel said that if there had been any impact, it was a "simple accident without the other party being aware".

He said that if there had been such an impact, Gray would have heard it and would have stopped.

A second police officer told the court that he saw his colleague being struck. He said he recognised the driver of the car as Gray.

However, under cross-examination he admitted that he had made no mention of Gray in an earlier statement.

Gray had difficulty speaking due to a mouth injury he suffered when he was shot by the LVF in 2002.

The leading loyalist told the court that he was returning from a Chinese restaurant on the Holywood Road when the incident took place.

He denied that a police officer attempted to stop his car.

He said he did not see any police officers as he was concentrating on the traffic in front.

Defence counsel said that the case was a border-line situation as far as careless driving was concerned and that if there was impact, it had not been noticed.

However Resident Magistrate Ken Nixon found Gray guilty, fining him £150 and giving him three penalty points.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?