SDLP MLA cleared of careless driving

Pat Catney MLA
Pat Catney MLA

Lagan Valley SDLP MLA Pat Catney has been acquitted of careless driving.

On Thursday, January 25 Lisburn Magistrates Court heard how a female pedestrian hurt her shoulder as she crossed the road in heavy traffic on Bachelors Walk, not far from the courthouse, on 21 June 2016.

Mr Catney, with an address in the city, faced a single count of driving without due care and attention on Bachelors Walk, a charge he had always denied.

It transpired in evidence that the lady had crossed behind Mr Catney’s estate car which had a bicycle attached to it but under cross examination from defence barrister Malachy Bernard, she conceded she “did not know” how her shoulder came to be hurt.

Lodging an application for a directed verdict of not guilty, Mr Bernard argued her evidence, coupled with Mr Catney’s police interview where he maintained his car remained static throughout and had not moved, meant there was no way he could be convicted.

Acceding to the defence application, District Judge Rosie Watters found Mr Catney not guilty.

The former owner of the Kitchen Bar in Belfast city centre, Mr Catney was elected to Lisburn City Council in 2011 and re-elected in 2014, before being elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in March 2017.