In a rush to church

Despite my recent rash of blogs about motoring, I am not very interested in cars and drive an elderly one which is still too new and will always be too boring to be a “classic.” If however, someone wants to give me one do feel free. Anyhow on with another motoring blog.

The BBC first reported that a speeding car had been followed by the police until it turned into the car park of Aughnacloy Free Presbyterian Church. The BBC reported that when they tried to follow the police were prevented by church members. Both the BBC and Belfast Telegraph report that DUP councillor Samuel Brush said:
“The car park was pretty full of cars and the elders had asked the police to wait outside the grounds of the church while the rest of the congregation came out.”
“The police didn’t wait — perhaps they couldn’t wait.”

Whilst the Rev Geoffrey Abraham said:

“There was only one gate open that night so the motorist would have had to go back out the same way.
The men just asked the police to remain at the gate and apprehend the driver on the way out but they said they wanted to come in.
They said they had the number of the car. They then went back up the road. They did not give the number to the men. I can’t understand why they have not apprehended the driver if they had the number.”

The Newsletter reports a police spokesperson:

“We can confirm that a motorist who was detected driving in excess of the speed limit in Aughnacloy failed to stop for police at around 10pm on Sunday, May 11 and parked in a busy car park of a church at the Caledon Road.

“Attempts to identify the driver and vehicle so far have been unsuccessful. Inquiries are still continuing and witnesses are asked to contact police in Dungannon.”

Tom Elliott the UUP MLA has joined in the fun:

“There is bound to be a query over whether the police have the power to enter the car park and if they did, why did they not do it?
“I think there are a lot of unanswered questions here. I am also wondering if the police took the names of the members of the congregation who asked them not to come in.”
“There must have been a reason why they asked them not to come in. I would certainly like to know the answer.
“It is quite an unusual set of circumstances and poses an awful lot of unanswered questions”

UUP councilor Jim Hamilton who is chairman of Dungannon and South Tyrone DPP intends to raise the incident at the next meeting.

  • darth rumsfeld

    presumably the free Ps thought the Gardai were the proper authorities to call in, given their ex-moderator’s political conversion…

  • joeCanuck

    Free Ps.
    Free Parking?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Without wishing to downplay such a serious intervention by a very religious flock of Ps ( alternative collective noun a ‘stream’ perhaps? ) tis happy days we are now in that such a matter assumes such prominence.

  • Marcu Farlighteru

    Has anyone heard Jeffrey Donaldson’s new record on Hugo Duncan, ‘Wiggle Wiggle’, top stuff.

  • tis happy days we are now in that such a matter assumes such prominence

    And you think Free Ps were never involved in more serious, conflict-related, law breaking?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Sammy Eile,

    I was not suggesting anything about their previous behaviour legal or otherwise – why do you ask?

  • McGrath

    Cute hoors those Aughnacloy Free P’s are……..

  • ulsterfan

    Is this a modern day form of sanctuary and if so what are the legal implications. I believe the law on sanctuary still applies in certain case and no doubt this will keep some of our bloggers out of trouble discussing the subject
    I have no further interest.
    Thank you.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Someone in the police is due a serious arse kicking over this. Are free presbyterian services so exiting that the faithful have to speed to get there?

    Honestly I have never heard the likes of this shite in my life. Some people need to get done for interfering with police business.

  • jaffa

    “Are free presbyterian services so exiting that the faithful have to speed to get there?”

    Maybe he was more afraid of entering the service late.

  • Rory

    DUP councillor Samuel Brush? Doesn’t he have a more famous brother, Basil, if I remember correctly?

  • Comrade Stalin

    It sounds to me frankly as if the police decided they couldn’t be arsed with the paperwork anyway. But can they just enter what is effectively private property without a warrant ? I guess there may be some kind of “hot pursuit” provision ?

  • joeCanuck

    Hot pursuit would seem to apply, Comrade. Strange case.

  • The Raven

    Not wishing to detract from the issues at hand, but was sanctuary not granted to asylum seekers a couple of years ago in a local church?

    Anything I have found on the common law of sanctuary seems to have been abolished over the past couple of hundred years.

    Just interested to know.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Not wishing to detract from the issues at hand, but was sanctuary not granted to asylum seekers a couple of years ago in a local church?”

    Yup-A few years ago two gentlemen accused of anti-social behaviour by the paramilitaries sought sanctuary in Newry catherdral. Hence the contemporary joke- what’s the difference between Newry cathedral and an anorak? There’s only one hood in an anorak.

    I’ll get me sash

  • The Raven

    Darth,

    No, I meant actual asylum-seekers, not chavs-on-the-run. I recall that case though, now you mention it.

  • George

    Comrade,
    I don’t know about the British Road Traffic Act but the Irish one allows the Gardaí to pursue a suspect on to the forecourt of a third party’s property.

  • McGrath

    Anything I have found on the common law of sanctuary seems to have been abolished over the past couple of hundred years.

    Just interested to know.

    Posted by The Raven on May 27, 2008 @ 07:17 PM

    Surely, if Sanctuary was the real issue and it was still law, it would apply with the church walls, not the car park?

    The PNSI don’t seem to have any problems following regular folk to their doorstep when they want to have a word.

    Poor old PNSI, no one wants to cooperate with them.

  • Dewi

    Blasted rebels.

  • steve48

    given the relative lack of comment from the DUP apart from Mr Brush one wonders what the reaction would have been had it been the car park of a Chapel. I have a sneaking suspicion young Jeffrey would have been trotted out to gain more brownie points with the DUP proletariat.

  • Rory

    Right on, Dewi. And now especially for you….

  • No, I meant actual asylum-seekers, not chavs-on-the-run.

    There was certainly a case in Manchester, almost 20 years ago, where two Sri Lankan asylum seekers were holed up in a church for almost a year. I’m pretty certain the vicar in question was called Henry West, but as this was in the pre-internet days Google reveals little.

  • Dublin voter

    “No, I meant actual asylum-seekers, not chavs-on-the-run.”

    If I recall correctly, the Newry incident was more sticks-on-the-run than chavs-on-the-run. Some young folk connected to the independent-minded sticks in Newry had dared to challenge the local Provie hoods, were then threatened and took sanctuary in the local church. Quite an effective little action at the time, I thought. (On the part of the sticks as opposed to the provies.)

  • Dewi

    There you go Sammy – bit longer than a year….Now to confirm Vicar’s name…..

  • This one looks promising.

    Presumably the PSNI have a registration number, and access to the police computer. All they now need is sworn testimony. If they indicated pursuit, other charges could arise. End of that story.

    More interesting is the matter of “sanctuary”, as claimed by Viraj Medis and his campaigners. I thought that right went under the Stuarts. A further nicety was implicit in the 2003 shoeless-police raid on the Finsbury Park mosque, after years of official neglect of a local festering sore. Interestingly enough, it was “Little Algiers” in the Blackstock Road (just round the corner from the mosque) that was on the receiving end of the massive raid of 27th March 2008, another new import (from NI?) into Metropolitan Policing. It doesn’t take an advanced case of civil-libertarianitis to see a clear discrepancy between targeting alleged criminality with such raids, and the accompanying threat:

    Ch[ief] Sup[erintendan]t Bob Carr said they were still tracking down other suspects following the raids…

    “We cannot allow people perceived to be successful through their criminality to have a negative impact on our communities, in particular young people.

    “This is part of a long term strategy to ensure those intent on criminal activity no longer gravitate towards the area.” [My emphasis.]

  • Bigger Picture

    “presumably the free Ps thought the Gardai were the proper authorities to call in, given their ex-moderator’s political conversion…”

    I wouldn’t like to make that accusation to Ivan Foster!