Student ‘so sick’ at 85 mph speed detection

Coleraine Court.
Coleraine Court.

A schoolboy rugby player caught driving at almost twice the speed he was restricted to on the way from a team bonding session was “so sick” at breaking the law he missed a big match the next day, a court heard.

Ben Lyle (18) of Topp Road near Ballymoney, had only passed his driving test six months earlier and was limited to 45mph but police caught him doing 85mph at the Newbridge Road near Coleraine in February this year.

Appearing at Coleraine Magistrates Court on May 16, wearing a Dalriada School uniform, the defendant pleaded guilty to exceeding his speed restriction.

The detection was made at 10pm on February 19 and District Judge Liam McNally said it was an “appalling speed for a man with ‘R’ plates up”.

References from the teenager’s family minister and a teacher were handed in to court but Mr McNally said: “There are a large number of young people who have good character but get them behind the wheel of a car and speed seems to be quite attractive to them”.

Defence solicitor Denise Gillan said her client had been at a rugby team bonding night because the Dalriada First XV had got into the quarter-finals of the Schools Cup and although Lyle was in the 2nd XV he attended the event.

After being caught speeding Lyle did not go to the match the next day, in which Dalriada beat Bangor Grammar 17-5, because he was “so sick” at being caught speeding.

Ms Gillan said the defendant had driven a number of friends and was taking them back to their cars and they were on their way to McDonalds in Coleraine and “spirits were high” and he didn’t realise the speed he was doing.

Judge McNally said he had made clear his views on numerous occasions regarding ‘R’ drivers and to show his disapproval anyone who would speed at almost double that must face a disqualification.

He banned the ‘A’ level student for a month and fined him £100.


A COLERAINE drink driver left the scene after crashing a car into a field near Portrush.

Christopher James Barnes (24), of The Paddocks, Coleraine, admitted driving with excess alcohol following the incident at Magheraboy Road on April 24. He had an alcohol/breath reading of 50, with the limit being 35.

District Judge Liam McNally noted that the references handed to the court all spoke very highly of the defendant.

Barnes was banned from driving for a year and fined £200.