Belfast Telegraph

Ken Maginnis won't appeal conviction for assaulting man in road rage incident

A Northern Ireland peer has dropped plans to appeal his conviction for assaulting a man in a road rage incident.

Lord Maginnis also disclosed yesterday that an anonymous benefactor is paying his £200 fine. He had previously said he would go to jail before meeting the financial penalty.

The 75-year-old former Ulster Unionist MP was found guilty in August of assaulting Keith Kirk in Dungannon last year. He had admitted calling Mr Kirk a "yellow-bellied b******" but denied grabbing him and raising his fist.

At Dungannon Magistrates Court a judge imposed a £200 fine, with the same amount in compensation to the victim.

Lord Maginnis had vowed to challenge the verdict, but that changed due to the publicity surrounding the case, he said.

In a statement through his lawyer, he said: "I firmly believe and maintain I have been the victim of a grossly unfair and unnecessary prosecution.

"However, on the advice of my lawyers, I have decided not to proceed with my appeal which, however justified, will only serve to highlight a case that has already received disproportionate attention and has become a distraction to my work which has always been in total support of the proper and fair administration of justice."

Lord Maginnis added: "Although I had been prepared to go to prison rather than pay any fine, an anonymous benefactor has insisted on discharging the financial penalty in recognition of '... your many years in support of justice, the police and the courts'."

Belfast Telegraph

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