Doctor doing 101mph was in a rush to get to surgery

A doctor caught speeding at 101mph was on way to a surgery in Larne where 15 patients were waiting and he was concerned if there was a cancellation there would be a knock-on effect at the start of the Covid pandemic in Northern Ireland.

Thursday, 19th August 2021, 4:51 pm

A defence barrister entered a guilty plea on behalf of the defendant - Nazem Hussain Hanif (41), of Dalewood in Newtownabbey - who was not present at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday.

A prosecutor said that when stopped after doing 101mph in the 70mph zone at the A8 near Larne on March 3 last year, the defendant, who had a previously clear record, told police there were “extenuating circumstances, to be explained at a later date”.

Defence lawyer Neil Moore said after the defendant’s eight-year-old son had been taken by ambulance to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Dr Hanif then had to leave the hospital to go to Inver Surgery in Larne where patients were waiting.

Ballymena Courthouse. INBT02-213AC

Not wanting to cancel the surgery at the start of the Covid pandemic, Mr Moore said “that is his explanation for driving at that speed”.

Mr Moore said the defendant had previously worked in a hospital emergency department and is “well aware” of the consequences of high speed car crashes and knows there is “no excuse” for speeding.

Deputy District Judge Trevor Browne said Dr Hanif would know more than most, the “catastrophic outcome of somebody driving at that speed” but he had “clearly taken that lesson onboard and there are some extenuating circumstances”.

The judge handed down three penalty points and a £200 fine “to reflect the fact that he has had a blemish-free record to date”.