Sunday 17 December 2017

Former Unionist MP convicted of assaulting motorist

David Young

A BRITISH House of Lords peer has been convicted of assaulting a motorist in a road rage incident in Northern Ireland.

Lord Ken Maginnis, a 75-year-old former Ulster Unionist Party MP, was found guilty at Dungannon Magistrates' Court of grabbing 21-year-old Keith Kirk by the arm and threatening to punch him in the town last summer after becoming enraged at him honking his car horn.

The peer, who admitted calling Mr Kirk a "yellow bellied bastard", had denied the charge of common assault.

But District Judge John Meehan said he was satisfied the prosecution had proved the case beyond reasonable doubt.

He fined Lord Maginnis £200 and ordered him to pay a further £200 in compensation to Mr Kirk.

Mr Kirk claimed the peer had pulled out of a junction in front of him without looking, causing him to break suddenly.

He said he honked his horn - an act he alleged prompted Lord Maginnis to get out of his vehicle and march back to confront him through the wound down window.

Mr Kirk claimed the peer, a former major in the Ulster Defence Regiment, grabbed his arm and held the other fist in the air threatening a punch.

The prosecution conceded it was a non injury assault and that the politician had not struck Mr Kirk.

Judge Meehan said he had taken account of Lord Maginnis's years of public service in determining the punishment.

Outside court, the peer said he had already lodged an appeal.

"I am obviously not letting it rest here," he said.

"One might say what's a couple of hundred pounds but this is my reputation. And I am appealing it, I can assure you I am appealing it."

Press Association

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