Driving offender told to take bus

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A pensioner jailed for a catalogue of motoring offences was granted bail yesterday ahead of a bid to clear his name.

John Connolly, 70, has been convicted of dangerous driving, having no insurance, driving while disqualified and failing to stop for police.

He drove at officers who tried to speak to him during a pursuit near his Burneys Mews home in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, a judge was told.

Connolly is currently facing a five-month prison sentence after being convicted over two separate incidents in December 2012 and last May.

His lawyers went before the High Court seeking to have him released from custody pending an appeal hearing.

Prosecution counsel claimed the pensioner has got behind the wheel numerous times since losing his licence.

She said: “It just seems Mr Connolly is unable to accept that he is disqualified.”

During the hearing the defendant, who appeared by video-link from jail, insisted he no longer has a car.

He told Mr Justice Weir that a Nissan parked outside his home has been sold and is waiting to be collected.

Connolly pledged: “I will give you my word that I will not be driving any car.”

In an exchange the judge put it to him that he would want out of prison.

But to laughter in the courtroom the defendant replied: “I can’t say it’s too bad. People are civil.”

Bail was granted on condition that Connolly only uses public transport. With his appeal hearing listed for tomorrow, Mr Justice Weir advised him to get the bus to court.