A County Tyrone man was found guilty of breaching a traffic sign following a contest at Fermanagh Magistrates Court.

In what was the evidence of the defendant against the evidence of two police officers it was found that John Francis Harper of Harpur Park, Castlederg had ran through a red light in Enniskillen on December 15, 2018.

The court heard that two constables were in an unmarked car at the junction of the Belfast Road and Derrychara Road heading towards Gaol Square.

A red Ford Transit van came out of the Derrychara Road junction and on to the junction in the direction of Forthill Street.

The police officer driving the unmarked car said that as they were at the traffic lights and moving towards the Gaol Square, he noticed the Transit van edging forward.

Being familiar with the junction the officer looked to the traffic lights to his right which were red. The police car carried on to the next set of traffic lights and the officers observed the Transit van coming up behind them and moving into the right hand lane to head into the direction of Forthill Street.

The police officer got out of the car and spoke to the driver of the van and told him to pull over, which he did on Forthill Street. A fixed penalty notice was offered however the defendant decided to take the matter to court.

During cross-examination by defence barrister Ciaran Roddy, both officers who were in the car at the time said they were very familiar with the junction and accepted that at times it could be very busy leading to a build up in traffic.

Mr. Roddy said it was the defence case that the light was green for traffic to move from the Derrychara Road junction however the light changed when he was ahead of the white stop line and was subsequently flashed by another car to let him go.

The officer driving the car said it was his belief that the van was behind the white line and the light was red when the vehicle was manoeuvred with both officers saying they did not see a car flashing lights behind them.

The defendant in his evidence to the court, said he had been leaving his work to go home due to the bad weather on the day. At the junction there were only two or three cars getting through and he had got over the white line and was in “no man’s land” and a car gave him a flash and he drove on.

The 54 year old said the traffic was very busy and he accepted that the light could have been red but he was not in the habit of driving through red lights.

District Judge Michael Ranaghan asked Harper, a contractor by trade, if he was obstructing traffic when he was across the white line to which the defendant said he was not.

Mr. Roddy, in summary, said it was a reasonable excuse case in which his client was across the white line when it was green and he would not have moved it he had not been flashed.

Judge Ranaghan said Harpur had essentially taken the decision to drive out when flashed but there was no obstruction.

Judge Ranaghan said although the case was found against Harper he could see why the matter was fought.

“In essence you took a chance,” said Judge Ranaghan.

Harper was given three penalty points and fined £150.