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Cerebral palsy sufferer ordered not to use his mobility scooter 'as a weapon'

By Nevin Farrell

Published 21/07/2015

Cerebral palsy sufferer David Robert Hall on his scooter
Cerebral palsy sufferer David Robert Hall on his scooter
Honda Nippi

A man with cerebral palsy has been handed a suspended jail term after he was convicted of driving his mobility scooter carelessly.

David Robert Hall (30) appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court where he was ordered not to use his specialist motorised wheelchair as a weapon and to stop hiding behind his condition.

Hall was also sentenced for causing unnecessary suffering to his pet German shepherd dog Roxy and assaulting a member of staff from Causeway Coast Dog Rescue and also a police officer.

Hall, of Kingsbury Gardens, Coleraine, attended court on a motorised scooter and his case had to be heard in a downstairs courtroom because the lift to the normally-used upstairs court was not working.

Defence barrister Michael Smith said it appeared his client had been driving the Honda Nippi "in places where he shouldn't be".

He said the Nippi vehicle is now in storage after it was taken away on medical grounds because of his client's bad eyesight.

The barrister said the scooter that Hall was using in court did not require a licence or insurance.

Regarding the animal cruelty charge, Mr Smith said there had been no banning order on Hall keeping animals and the dog was still with him.

He said it had not been a case of systematic cruelty but had arisen out of difficulties his client had with another person. The barrister said the assaults occurred when Hall could not contain his anger and he said he had "learned his lesson from his encounter" with a woman from Causeway Coast Dog Rescue.

District Judge Liam McNally said Hall was a habitual offender who had disregarded the regulations surrounding his vehicle.

The judge added that he had previously told the defendant he "could not continue to hide behind your cerebral palsy" when he had imposed a suspended sentence on a previous occasion.

The judge noted the vehicle was no longer in use.

Judge McNally warned Hall against using his scooter to assault people and Hall replied: "At no point did I ever use this vehicle as a weapon."

Hall was given a four-month jail term, suspended for three years.

He was also banned from driving any vehicle for three years, which does not include his current mobility scooter, fined £200 and ordered to pay £100 compensation to each of the two people he assaulted.

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