Suspended sentence for road rage driver

Judge's court wig and hammer or gavel
Judge's court wig and hammer or gavel

A lorry driver who punched a man in a road rage incident was given a suspended prison sentence last Wednesday at Craigavon Magistrates Court.

Joshua Brian Dunkley (24), whose address at the time of the offence was Knockaconey Road, Armagh, but last week was given as Earls Court, Coventry, admitted a charge of disorderly behaviour at a previous court hearing.

The case was adjourned so that a pre-sentence report could be obtained.

The previous court heard that on October 6 the injured party was driving his car along the Armagh Road towards Portadown with his young daughter a front seat passenger.

The car in front on him was an ‘R’ driver who was travelling at 45mph and he noticed a lorry so close behind him he could see its grill.

The lorry attempted to overtake the car and flashed its lights and sounded its horn.

When the injured party was stopped at traffic lights the defendant approached the vehicle and knocked on the window.

The driver got out of the car to defend his vehicle and went towards Dunkley who punched him to the face and he fell to the ground. The victim had to be brought to hospital. The defendant made a counter allegation saying the other person had not been allowing him to pass.

At last Wednesday’s court a prosecution lawyer said the evidence for the disorderly charge came from CCTV footage and there was no independent evidence about the driving matters.

Attempts were made to play the CCTV coverage in the court but these were unsuccessful.

A barrister representing the defendant said as a result of this incident Dunkley had lost the employment he had at the time. He described this as ‘a moment of madness’ and ‘a rush of blood on his part’ but he was apologetic.

District Judge, Mrs Bernie Kelly, said the pre-sentence report was the worst one she ever got recommending a fine when she would never consider dealing with this by way of a fine. “As a motoring member of the public lorries frighten the you know what out of me,” she added. “In a coming together between a lorry and a car the car always comes out the worst.

“When sitting in a car and all you can see in the rear view mirror is the grill of a lorry it is a frightening experience.”

The judge said you should be able to see the number plate and the windscreen of the lorry in the rear view mirror and when someone was braking they were saying you were too close and get back.

“You did not do that and not content with that you then got out and remonstrated with the driver of the car,” Judge Kelly told the defendant.

She sentenced him to three months in prison but in light of his plea of guilty and lack of previous offending she suspended it for 12 months.