Friday 19 December 2014

Former ''Apprentice' boss Bill Cullen speeding charge dismissed in court

Andrew Phelan

Published 28/03/2014 | 15:58

Bill Cullen
Bill Cullen

BUSINESSMAN and former TV3 Apprentice boss Bill Cullen has had a speeding charge against him dismissed after a court heard that his country mansion often gets mixed up with a young offenders' jail.

Mr Cullen (72) was alleged to have been clocked driving over the speed limit an incident in north county Dublin last year.

Judge James Faughnan dismissed the case at Dublin District Court after hearing Mr Cullen never received the fixed-charge fine and the summons later sent to the entrepreneur was incorrectly addressed.

Mr Cullen, of Osberstown House in Naas, Co Kildare pleaded not guilty exceeding the 60kph speed limit in the incident.

Garda Dominic Noonan told the court he was on duty operating speed detection equipment at Cloghran on June 8 last year. He detected a car driving at 83kph in a 60kph zone.

He spoke to Mr Cullen, who was driving, and issued a fixed penalty notice, which was sent to his address in Kildare.

He did not receive any correspondence back and a summons was issued.

Mr Cullen then gave evidence that he never received the fixed penalty notice. He told his solicitor Michael French that his post was checked every day, adding: "Jackie (Lavin, his partner) gives it to me".

"I would have paid the €80 and that would have been it", he said.

He told the court he had been driving for 55 years. The court heard there had been an issue over Mr Cullen's address and although he received the summons, it had been addressed to "Oberstown House", the name of a juvenile detention centre in Lusk.

There had been occasions in the past when he had received post intented for Oberstown.

Judge Faughnan dismissed the case.

Mr Cullen returned to the motor trade last month, when he was appointed the official Irish dealer for the Ssang Yong company from Korea.

In August 2012, Mr Cullen lost his Renault dealership, ending a long-standing relationship with the brand. He had held the national franchise for the French carmaker from 1986 to 2007.

In October the same year, receivers were appointed by Ulster Bank to Glencullen Holdings, which operated car dealerships in Swords and Liffey Valley in Dublin, to secure its loans.

The recession has also seen the axing of The Apprentice and Mr Cullen's Muckross Park Hotel in Killarney going into receivership.

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