A 27-year-old man caught speeding at 100mph through a village thought a “known Fermanagh criminal” was chasing him, however it later emerged it was an unmarked police car.
Marc John William Dickson, of Crevenish Road, Rosscolban, Kesh, claimed the vehicle was once owned by a man who allegedly assaulted him and he believed the man was following his Mercedes, Fermanagh court heard.
The sitting judge said he was “shocked and horrified” at the electrical engineer’s speed saying that Dickson put other road users’ lives at risk and added that Fermanagh has seen “too many road deaths”.
After banning him from driving for 14 months as well as imposing a £300 fine, it emerged that Dickson was disqualified from driving in 2011 after he was caught drink driving.
CCTV images captured in the policeman’s car shows the moment Dickson overtook his vehicle on June 6, last year, shortly after 10am. The pair were travelling from Kesh in the direction of Enniskillen along the Killadeas Road.
The video played to the court shows Dickson starting to speed up and overtake a vehicle in front prompting the policeman to follow him. The policeman drove behind the defendant as he made his way towards Castle Archdale while a speed monitor shows that the policeman has to travel at 100mph to keep up with Dickson.
At one point, Dickson drove into Lisnarick at 100mph, despite a sign displaying a 30mph restricted speed zone.
Dickson then dangerously overtook a number of cars forcing them and oncoming vehicles to brake sharply to avoid a collision.
He continued to drive at speeds reaching 100mph. Constable Doherty told the court that he switched the blue lights on at Lisnarick but Dickson did not stop until a few miles further along the road.
The officer asked Dickson why he was travelling so fast and he replied: “I was going to the dentist.”
Defence barrister Steffan Rafferty asked the constable to confirm that the car he was driving had been seized from a known criminal in the area and that police in Fermanagh use that car on a daily basis to which he did.
The prosecutor told the court that the incident was aggravated by Dickson narrowly avoiding a collision.
“It falls well below the standard of a careful and competent driver,” she added.
However, Mr Rafferty told the court: “This is not a case whereby he has driven in a dangerous manner but alternatively he has been driving without due care and attention.
District Judge Nigel Broderick said: “If anyone drives at this speed and a child or adult or cyclist comes out in front of him, what are the chances of avoiding a fatal accident.”
However, Mr Rafferty went on to say that the defendant’s driving was in a ‘controlled manner’ claiming that his overtaking manoeuvres were not putting anyone else in danger.
Judge Broderick said that having the seen the footage he believed the prosecution had proven their case beyond reasonable doubt.
“I’m shocked and horrified at this speed along minor roads,” he added.
“This was through a rural area which increased the significant risk of a fatal accident if a driver or someone was to emerge from a side road.
“Sadly, in this jurisdiction there are too many deaths on these roads.”
Mr Rafferty said that his client would not have known that the vehicle had been seized and brought into operational use by police.
“He thought he was being chased by the perpetrator, though he did not let the policeman know this at the scene.
“He is very apologetic and regretful.”
To read more.. Subscribe to current edition