Belfast Telegraph

Stock car rage as driver's mum joins attack on rival who forced him off course

By Nevin Farrell

The mother of a stock car racer who was "forced off" a Co Antrim track as he was about to win a title grabbed the other driver through the window and struck him in the face, a court has heard.

Defence barrister Stephen Law told Ballymena Magistrate's Court yesterday that tempers flared as Karl Smyth (28), of Ennismore H all, Ballymena, was competing at Ballymena Raceway last year.

Smyth previously pleaded guilty to assaulting another racer, occasioning him actual bodily harm.

Beside the defendant in court was his mother, Annabel Smyth (48), of Hillmount, Garvagh, who had pleaded guilty to a charge of common assault against the other racer.

A prosecutor said that after 8.30pm on Friday, September 23 last year, police were called to Ballymena Showgrounds where the injured party had been assaulted by the Smyths.

Karl Smyth and the other driver had been taking part in a stock car race and after the injured party "knocked him off the track" during a race, Annabel Smyth grabbed him through the window of his car and hit him in the face, the court heard.

Karl Smyth then got into the car and began hitting the man, and during the assault he bent his arm back behind a seat before the defendant was pulled out of the vehicle by security staff.

The prosecutor said the injured driver attended Coleraine's Causeway Hospital with a dislocated shoulder and he was subsequently absent from work due to the injury.

The prosecutor said that during a police interview, Annabel Smyth claimed the injured party had "swung" at her and Karl Smyth said there had been a "shoving match" and he had not intended to cause the shoulder injury.

However, both later pleaded guilty.

Defence barrister Mr Law said both defendants had completely clear criminal records and the incident was "out of character".

He said "tempers flared" after the stock car race.

"Karl Smyth was due to win the title and it was a deliberate act by the injured party to take him out," said Mr Law.

The barrister claimed the manoeuvre was "so dangerous" it led to the injured driver being banned by the race authorities for six months.

Mr Law said with "adrenaline flowing" Karl Smyth - whose stock car bears the number '999' and the message 'Let the sparks fly' - had approached the other driver to remonstrate.

Deputy District Judge Peter Magill said it was a "shame to see" people with clear records coming to court.

"Notwithstanding whatever provocation there may have been, this sort of behaviour is unacceptable," said the judge.

He fined Karl Smyth £250 and ordered him to pay £250 compensation to the victim. The judge gave Annabel Smyth a one year conditional discharge.

Belfast Telegraph


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