A KESH man who claimed an ex-friend held a knife to his throat and forced him to drive from Kesh to Lack has been found not guilty of dangerous driving.
Clive Hunter (33) of Carn Road, Kesh pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving and failing to stop for police on December 14, 2015. He told Enniskillen Magistrates Court on Monday he accepted he’d been driving dangerously, and that he hadn’t stopped when signalled to by police, but explained he’d done so under duress, having had a knife held to his throat.
The events began the evening before, when Hunter agreed to a car swap with a man he was friends with at the time. The friend, who was drinking with his girlfriend, got back in touch with him later that night saying he’d crashed the car he’d just got, and needed a lift.
Hunter drove to pick the friend up from his home in Trillick. The friend asked him to drive him to Kesh, and Hunter presumed he wanted to go to his father’s house in the village.
When they reached Kesh, the friend told Hunter to stop at a phonebox. He got out of the car, saying he’d be back in five minutes. Hunter waited in the car along with his friend’s girlfriend. He said the next thing he heard was “screaming and shouting” and then the friend jumped back into the car with blood on his hands and told Hunter to drive.
Hunter said the friend said “just drive” and was in “really bad humour.” He said he did what he was told as he was scared.
The friend told Hunter to drive via Lack, and while they were driving through the village they spotted a police car. He said this was when his friend pulled out a knife and threatened him, holding it to his throat and saying “don’t you stop this f**king car.”
Hunter said he did what he was told, driving dangerously to avoid the police. The car eventually came to a stop a short time later when its sump broke.
Statements and evidence from police, which stated a knife was found in the car and that as soon as officer spoke to Hunter on the night he said he’d been threatened.
District Judge Bonita Boyd said the fact the knife was in the car, and the fact Hunter raised the issue of duress more or less immediately, left her with too much doubt to convict the defendant, and dismissed the charge.
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Posted: 9:35 am July 9, 2017