Belfast Telegraph

Spectators at Twelfth had to jump to avoid drink driver, court hears

By Alan Erwin

Spectators jumped out of the way to avoid being hit by a drink driver following a Twelfth of July parade, a court heard on Tuesday.

Crowds then surrounded Christopher Gorman's car to remonstrate with him during the incident in east Belfast last month.

The 27-year-old, of Severn Street in the city, was given an 18-month ban after admitting dangerous driving and drink driving.

He was also fined £500 for offences his lawyer stressed involved no sinister intention towards pedestrians.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard the defendant had been drinking while in the city centre to watch the annual Orange Order parade.

He then went back to collect and remove his Vauxhall Vectra as a large number of spectators were dispersing at the junction between the Ballymacarrett Newtownards Roads.

Police spotted the car travelling at speed in the direction of an oncoming crowd of people.

According to a PSNI report of the incident several people took evasive action by jumping out of the way to avoid being struck.

The vehicle then stopped, with a crowd gathering round to complain at the driver.

Gorman was slurring his speech and slow to respond when police got to him.

Defence solicitor Pat Kelly described his client's actions as "stupid and ridiculous".

But Mr Kelly insisted: "There was no sinister overtones to this. He comes from that community and was returning to east Belfast."

Imposing the disqualification and fines, Deputy District Judge Laura Ievers accepted Gorman had not been deliberately driving towards any spectators.

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