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Rebellion star Andrew Simpson fined for speeding

By George Jackson

Published 19/01/2016

Andrew Simpson (right) with fellow actors Michael Ford (left) and Paul Reid on the set of TV show Rebellion
Andrew Simpson (right) with fellow actors Michael Ford (left) and Paul Reid on the set of TV show Rebellion

One of Northern Ireland's brightest acting talents - whose roles include a major part in RTE's current 1916 Easter Rising series Rebellion - has been fined for speeding.

Andrew Simpson (27), from Londonderry, was fined £125 and had three penalty points imposed on his driving licence when he pleaded guilty at the city's Magistrates Court yesterday.

Simpson pleaded guilty through his solicitor to driving at speeds up to 80mph along the Glenshane Road on the outskirts of Derry in the early hours of last September 14.

Simpson, who was not in court for the hearing, starred in Song For A Raggy Boy in 2003, and in 2006 he played opposite Cate Blanchett, Judy Dench and Bill Nighy in Notes On A Scandal.

He also starred in Saving The Titanic in 2012, and his first major lead role was in Abner Pastoll's film Road Games last year.

Simpson plays George Wilson - a Protestant barrister with republican leanings - in Rebellion.

In court yesterday a Public Prosecution Service barrister told District Judge Barney McElholm that at 1.45am on September 14 officers in a police patrol car parked in a layby spotted a silver Mercedes car being driven at speed towards Derry.

The police officers drove after the vehicle and started clocking its speed at Burntollet Bridge. The car was travelling at between 75mph and 80mph along the Glenshane Road, which has a speed limit of 60mph.

The barrister told the Mr McElholm that the police then followed the car for up to three miles during which the Mercedes was driven at 50mph as it entered the village of Drumahoe, about three miles from the city, which has a speed limit of 40mph.

The officers signalled to the driver to stop and when Simpson pulled over he was cautioned by police for the offence of speeding, which he admitted.

A defence solicitor told Mr McElholm that Simpson, who has been driving for seven years and who has no previous criminal convictions, was driving to his family's home in Fahan. He said Simpson lived with his brother in Greystone Avenue in Belfast, where he worked several days a week in the family business.

When the defendant's Republic of Ireland licence was handed to the District Judge, he remarked: "Ah, he recently appeared on RTE in a major production."

Mr McElholm then fined Simpson £125 and imposed the three penalty points on his licence.

"I don't think he will be doing a disappearing act because by the sounds of his talent we will be seeing a lot more of him. I am not sure how well RTE pays these days, so I will give him 10 weeks to pay his fine," he added.

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