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Belfast motorist who crashed after high-speed pursuit was wanted by police for almost four years, court hears

By Alan Erwin

Published 24/10/2016

The 29-year-old, of Avoniel Road in Belfast, faces charges of dangerous driving, failing to stop for police, and having no licence, insurance or vehicle test certificate.
The 29-year-old, of Avoniel Road in Belfast, faces charges of dangerous driving, failing to stop for police, and having no licence, insurance or vehicle test certificate.

A motorist who crashed after a high-speed pursuit through oncoming traffic had been wanted by police for nearly four years, the High Court heard today.

Prosecutors claimed Dean Brown drove at 70mph on the wrong side of the road through Lisburn, Co Antrim in an attempt to avoid capture last week.

The 29-year-old, of Avoniel Road in Belfast, faces charges of dangerous driving, failing to stop for police, and having no licence, insurance or vehicle test certificate.

During an application for bail a judge was told officers were called to the area on October 17 amid reports of a Ford Focus travelling erratically along the M1 motorway.

The car almost collided with other vehicles before heading into Lisburn.

David McClean, prosecuting, said police pursued it at Queens Road after sirens and blue lights were ignored.

The Ford Focus was recorded reaching 70mph and swerving to avoid traffic heading in the opposite direction, the court heard.

Brown is alleged to have continued driving at high-speeds through the city's streets.

"He appeared to veer intentionally into oncoming vehicles and swerve away at the last minute," Mr McClean claimed.

The pursuit continued until his car collided with a traffic island, causing substantial damage to the vehicle, crash barrier, lights and sign posts, according to the prosecutor.

On being arrested and cautioned Brown was said to have replied: "I panicked because I have no licence."

But Mr McClean argued that the accused has been wanted since a warrant was issued in January 2013 for failing to attend court in a separate case.

"He's been at large from that date until his detection by police - (a period of) three year and nine months," the barrister added.

Referring to Brown allegedly driving at high-speed on the wrong side of the road, Mr McClean argued: "He was making every effort, regardless of the risk to other members of the public, to avoid police apprehending him."

Mr Justice Burgess adjourned the bail application before any defence submissions were made.

He ruled that the separate court case should be dealt with later this week before making any decision on Brown's bid to be released from custody.

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