Cannonball driver with 'move your ass' sticker forced two vehicles off road
Published: 16 Oct 2012 12:52
"Move your ass" roared the sticker on the front of Jason Berry's Maserati sports car as he forced two drivers off the road during a charity fundraising rally.
The 37-year-old businessman was taking part in Cannonball Ireland, an annual gathering of supercar enthusiasts who drive in convoy on what the organisers describe as "an adventurous and picturesque road trip around Ireland" raising funds for charity.
He appeared at Fermanagh Court charged with dangerous driving. The prosecution refused to accept his plea to the lesser charge of careless driving. After hearing the evidence, Deputy District Judge Terence Dunlop said: "This is four square dangerous driving."
He fined Berry, from Alto Vetro, Dublin, £300 and banned him from driving for 12 months.
"Dangerous driving is not to be sniffed at and I think that with the risk he posed to quite a number of road users we are very fortunate that we are not dealing with injuries," he stated.
It was on the second day of this year's Cannonball Ireland, as around 150 supercars were travelling from Belfast to Galway, that the incident happened.
The prosecutor told the court that on Saturday, September 15, Peter Moore was travelling at 40mph in a queue of traffic coming from the prestige motorcar event. There were five vehicles, including a large goods vehicle, in the queue. As he drove out of Fivemiletown towards Enniskillen he noticed Berry's white Maserati sports car coming up behind him at considerable speed. It was travelling erratically with headlights and hazard warning lights flashing. Mr. Moore noticed that on the front of car was a sticker with red writing roaring: "Move your ass."
The prosecutor said that while the words were not indicative of Berry's driving, when coupled with the manner of his driving, "does go some way to showing his attitude to other road users".
The court heard that Berry was constantly flashing his headlights as he began overtaking Mr. Moore. As a he did so there was a white van coming in the opposite direction. Mr. Moore was forced to pull on to the hard shoulder.
"It was clear the Maserati was trying to force its way in in front of him," explained the prosecutor.
The driver of the van also had to brake and pull on to the hard shoulder.
The prosecutor described the manner of Berry's driving as "a very deliberate disregard for other road users".
Defence barrister, Miss Heather Philips, said around 150 vehicles were taking part in the event to raise money for a children's hospice in the Republic of Ireland. The cars were "dressed up" with stickers and the drivers were in fancy dress.
She said Berry was travelling in convoy and accepted his hazard warning lights were flashing. It was on a straight stretch of road and there was no indication he broke the speed limit.
"When he began to overtake he believed the road ahead was clear," she explained.
She said he then became aware of a vehicle coming in the opposite direction "and took steps to avoid a collision".
"He is certain he only became aware of this vehicle when it was too late to turn back," she added.
While it was a manoeuvre that could have caused an accident "because of his actions and reactions it didn't", claimed Miss Philips.
She said Berry had taken part in four Cannonball runs and the standard of participants' driving has to be suitable for them to attend and represent the charities for which they are raising funds.
The prosecutor submitted that it was the actions of Mr. Moore that prevented an accident and that Berry "could have braked and gone in behind him".
She said both Mr. Moore and the driver of the approaching van both had to pull on to their respective hard shoulders to avoid a collision.
Miss Philips said the loss of his licence would be a considerable impediment to Berry, who is hoping to leave Ireland and relocate to Croatia in the new year.
Get more stories from our Roundup section
15 Apr 2014 22:00
A 35-year-old man has been fined £425 and banned from driving for three months after he took his wife’s car without her permission.
15 Apr 2014 19:00
Police in Fermanagh and other parts of F District are asking everyone who uses the roads to promote safety messages through social media over the next three Bank Holiday Mondays.
15 Apr 2014 15:00 • Editorial Department
In Fermanagh I don’t think there is anything that causes so much anger and frustration than the weather; specifically the abundance of rain.
15 Apr 2014 13:00
A mentally ill man who bludgeoned his elderly uncle over the head with a hammer until he thought he was dead has been committed to hospital indefinitely.
15 Apr 2014 11:30
Enjoying your chocolate egg but don't know what to do with the packaging?
15 Apr 2014 09:00
POLICE are dealing with a security alert in Fintona, County Tyrone, after an incident in the early hours of this morning (Tuesday).
14 Apr 2014 22:00
A 44-year-old businessman has been fined £500 for failing to knock down a block of apartments that pose a danger to drivers.
14 Apr 2014 19:00
Fermanagh District Council is encouraging householders to have their heating appliances, which have been well used over the winter, serviced and chimneys cleaned to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home.
14 Apr 2014 16:00
A 28-year-old man involved in a fight outside a pub claimed remarks had been made about his former partner.
14 Apr 2014 13:00 • Meadhbh Monahan
Fermanagh tourism providers have to “work harder” because the county is “not the first choice destination.”
14 Apr 2014 11:00 • Brian Donaldson
The mother of a soldier serving in the First World War, had to resort to writing for financial help after her son died as result of the appalling conditions right at the end of the War in November 1918.
14 Apr 2014 09:30 • Lily Dane
An inspirational young Fermanagh woman, Rachel Wilson (formerly Byers) was only married a matter of months when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
14 Apr 2014 08:21
A 28-year-old single mother who betrayed the trust of her employer of over 11 years by stealing from his shop has been given 200 hours of community service.
13 Apr 2014 16:00 • Editorial Department
When the competition hotted up at the 37th Annual Fermanagh Bridge Congress over the weekend, bridge playing talents from the county demonstrated they ‘can hold their own.’
13 Apr 2014 14:00 • Editorial Department
THE Watermill Lodge Restaurant, Lisnaskea scooped an awards treble at the Ulster Regional Finals of the Irish Restaurant Awards this week.
13 Apr 2014 12:30 • Editorial Department
Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal was this year supported by over 12 local primary schools in the Clogher and Fermanagh areas.
13 Apr 2014 10:00 • Julie Kenwell
AN important part of Fivemiletown’s past has secured a place in the village’s future thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
12 Apr 2014 18:30 • Editorial Department
The new club season rolls into action this weekend and the 2014 league will have added significance for clubs with placings for the 2015 Championships based on how sides perform in the league this season.
12 Apr 2014 18:30 • Editorial Department
Results will matter right from the outset in SFL Division Two this year as changes in the structures in the division will see the league split at the midway stage.