Cullen beats speeding rap

Bill Cullen partner Jackie Lavin

Bill Cullen has been cleared of a speeding offence after a court heard that his country mansion often gets mixed up with a young offenders' jail.

The businessman and star of the TV3's The Apprentice had to appear at Dublin District Court today for speeding after a fixed penalty notice fine of €80 went unpaid.

A court summons was issued against the one-time king of the Irish motor industry for breaking the 60kph speed limit on the M1, at Cloughran, in north Co. Dublin, on the afternoon of June 8 last year.

The businessman, who lives at Osberstown House, Sallins, Co Kildare, pleaded not guilty defence solicitor Michael French told Judge James Faughnan and the case went to hearing.

Traffic Garda Dominic Noonan told Judge Faughnan that he had been operating speeding equipment when Mr Cullen was detected driving “83kph in a 60kph” zone. He said he spoke to the driver, a fixed penalty notice was later sent to his address in Kildare and the officer said he did not receive any correspondence back.

The 72-year-old businessman wearing a pinstriped suit took off his overcoat and stepped sprightly into the witness box. He was then sworn in and told his solicitor Mr French and the judge that he “never received it” referring to the fine.

He also said he normally does not have difficulties with his post which he said is also checked by his partner Jackie Lavin.

“I would have paid, €80, and that would be it,” he said, adding that he has been a driver for the past 55 years and in all that time he has never received a penalty point, fine or conviction.

He went on to explain that once or twice a year his post would not be delivered to his address at Osberstown House and instead would go Oberstown House, which is a juvenile detention centre, in Lusk, in north Co. Dublin.

Judge Faughnan also noted from Mr French, defending, that the car dealer's address had also been spelt wrongly, as Oberstown House, on the court's summons, and he dismissed the case.

After the judge threw out the case, the car dealer bowed to the judge and left court.

The veteran businessman and philanthropist lost his empire to the banks but has embarked on a comeback and has re-entered the Irish motor trade with a new SsangYong dealership in Dublin.

The former Renault chief executive and TV Apprentice boss has opened a showroom on the Naas Road; his new dealership, named Bill Cullen Premier Motors, will stock the Korean range of SUVs and a variety of used cars.

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