PICTURE : MARK JAMIESON
TRAFFIC Branch police officers abandoned the pursuit of a man alleged to have been the driver of a Peugeot 306 which sped off from ‘The Junction’ shopping centre in Antrim town towards Ballymena because it was too dangerous, a court heard on Monday.
Billy Guest (22), of Fenton Park, Cloughmills, appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court charged with several offences including dangerous driving; driving whilst disqualified; failing to stop for police; using a vehicle without insurance and no MOT relating to an incident on March 31 this year.
A police officer said she believed she could connect the accused to the charges. She objected to bail being granted. She said police saw a Peugeot 306 in the forecourt of a garage at ‘The Junction’ and it was established there was no insurance or MOT.
They signalled for the driver to stop but he made off towards Ballymena during which time there were several incidents of dangerous driving and other drivers had to take evasive action.
The officer said that as the vehicle approached Ballymena the driving “became so dangerous” the pursuit was stopped by Traffic Branch officers.
The court heard that CCTV from the garage was examined and that when police went to arrest Guest he “escaped out the back” but other officers were waiting there.
The officer said the offences of March 31 took place when Guest was on Crown Court bail for similar offences.
The court heard the defendant’s grandparents had a small farm holding near Cloughmills and they were going to Wales for a number of weeks on holiday and Guest was the only person who could tend to their livestock.
District Judge Paul Copeland said there were “multiple” reasons why bail should be refused including the safety of the public “given the alleged recklessness”.
However, he released the defendant on his own bail of £500 along with a £500 surety from his mother to live with her at Fenton Park.
Guest will be electronically tagged and he is not to be a passenger in his mother’s vehicle unless he is with her enroute to the farm at a fixed time agreed with police.
There is also a night time curfew and the defendant has to report to police twice a week.
The case was adjourned to Antrim Magistrates Court on July 17.