Magdalen man admits using phone while driving ‘to film restraining order breach’

The crest above the entrance to King's Lynn Court in College Lane. ENGANL00120120910143711

The crest above the entrance to King's Lynn Court in College Lane. ENGANL00120120910143711

A man who used a mobile phone while driving did so in order to obtain evidence of a potential breach of a restraining order, a court has heard.

Billy Dougal, 22, of Burnt Lane, Magdalen, pleaded guilty to the single charge when he appeared before magistrates in Lynn on Monday.

Andrew Nickerson, prosecuting, said Dougal had been seen trying to film people from his car as he drove along Park Crescent in the village on the evening of September 2.

He said that, in spite of defence mitigation the issue related to a “very specific” offence.

But mitigating solicitor Andrew Cogan claimed his client had been acting on advice given to him by police because of the “history” between the parties.

The bench was told that Dougal had begun filming after seeing a woman against whom a restraining order was issued barring her from contacting him and other named individuals either directly or indirectly.

She was with her son who kicked out at the car as Dougal continued to drive at a slow speed, Mr Cogan said.

There was then a verbal altercation between the two, although Dougal remained in his vehicle throughout.

And Mr Cogan said the woman “appeared to be encouraging her son to contact Mr Dougal”, in contravention of the restraining order

He continued: “The reason he is taking this footage is he has been advised the best way to obtain evidence (of a breach of the order) is to have video footage.”

He said the reason for the guilty plea was because he had continued to film for longer than was necessary to demonstrate a breach of the order.

The video Dougal took lasted for two minutes and 12 seconds and Mr Cogan suggested that a clip of around 40 to 50 seconds would have been sufficient to show the order was being breached and still enabled him to defend himself against the charge.

But he urged the bench to set that against “what he has been told to do by the police.”

As well as the penalty points on his licence, Dougal was ordered to pay a £20 victim surcharge.