Peer convicted of common assault after road rage incident


Peer convicted of common assault after road rage incident

A House of Lords peer has been found guilty of attacking a 21-year-old man in a road rage incident.

Lord Ken Maginnis, 75, was convicted of common assault at Dungannon Magistrates' Court yesterday.

During the incident, which took place last summer, Lord Maginnis was found to have grabbed Keith Kirk by the arm and threatened to punch him.

Mr Kirk had said that he had honked his horn after a red Honda CR-V, which had pulled out of a junction in front of him, had caused him to brake sharply.

The Honda had then stopped, after which the driver, Lord Maginnis, left his vehicle in order to confront Mr Kirk through the open window of his car.

District Judge John Meehan fined Lord Maginnis £200, and ordered that he pay an additional £200 to Mr Kirk as compensation, adding that he was satisfied that the prosecution had proven the case beyond reasonable doubt.

The peer, however, maintains he is innocent, saying he told Mr Kirk he was a "yellow-bellied b******", but denying the charge. He has also suggested that political factors were behind the prosecution.

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

Lord Maginnis had previously told the court that a speech he had delivered in the House of Lords earlier in the year, as well as a threat to take court proceedings against Stephen Farry, Northern Ireland's Employment and Learning Minister, had both been factors in the decision to prosecute him.