For most pensioners in their 70s, going for a brisk stroll is the perfect way to get some exercise.And good luck to him, you might think! I only hope I have that much energy when I’m 71…
But walking is is far too sedate for septuagenarian Geoff Dornan who prefers to race around on a pair of rollerblades.
Sadly, Mr Dornan dared to be different. And NuLab’s Britain doesn’t like difference, and seeks to crush it whenever it can:
However living life in the fast lane has landed the 71-year-old daredevil in trouble with the law after he was deemed a danger to pedestrians.Excuse me…?
The retired youth worker, who says regular skating keeps him fit and healthy, had his rollerblades confiscated by police.
And this week he was hauled before the courts where he denied endangering public safety by rollerblading and breaching local bylaws.
So, if he’d driven around in one of those deadly-silent electric buggies, he’d be perfectly fine? But because he rollerbladed, he’s hauled before the court?
Hmmm, deaths and injuries caused by electric buggies – about 8000, vs the same caused by rollerblading pensioners – 0. At least, that I could find.
Certainly, Mr Dornan claims never to have had an incident:
A panel of three magistrate were shown two videos, one 22-minutes and another 16 minutes long.So, the case seems clear cut – why was he even questioned?
The recordings showed Mr Dornan, wearing a dark jumper and trousers, skating along the pavement, dodging and weaving between pedestrians.
However, none of the people walking appeared to take any evasive action to avoid his path nor did any of them appear to break their step.
PC Paul Harwood said: 'There was an ongoing complaint regarding the roller-blading of Mr Dornan. On 16th October I was on duty in in Chapel Street and saw Mr Dornan rollerblading.Well, aren’t you just a brave little soldier, PC Harwood! Not for you the safe, easy option of arresting aggressive youths, burglars or shoplifters. Not when there’s a 71 year old skater to deal with, anyway…
'He had been a regular rollerblader over the summer months, but as I watched him I believed his actions to be a danger to pedestrians because he was weaving in and out of people and in front of shop doorways.
'I approached Mr Dornan and explained that due to the fashion of his skating he was breaching a town centre bylaw.
'I cautioned him but he replied by saying 'The bylaw says I can skate as long as I am safe'. I explained that although he thought his skating was safe I still thought he was breaching the bylaw.'
He said: 'I told him he could be arrested and his rollerblades seized but he continued to skate. When I seized the CCTV discs I handed them to the council and it was their decision to prosecute.'
And I suspect that the real offence in this jumped up little popinjay’s mind was that Mr Dornan dared to show a good understanding of the council bylaws and failed to meekly back down when he was challenged.
But who complained? One of the usual suspects, a thirty-something public sector busybody, cowed into believing that the State Is Right In All Things?
Witness Harold Craven (Ed – appropriate name!), 76, told the court: 'On several occasions I saw a gentleman skating, going very fast in and out of people. I always wondered what would happen if he hit someone.Well, Harold old sock, why are any of us allowed to do something when something bad might happen? Better we all stay at home with a nice mug of cocoa and wait for Nanny to tuck us in, eh..?
'I saw a police constable and I asked him why he was allowed to skate when an accident could happen. The police officer took my name and address and said he would look into it for me.'
I think Harold’s problem is he doesn’t have a fraction of this gentleman’s get-up-and-go. But the police shouldn’t feel free to act on another elderly man’s jealousy.
Outside court Mr Dornan said: 'In the months during which I have been unjustly deprived of my blades, I was shocked to discover how swiftly the health of someone of my age can deteriorate.That’s right, it shouldn’t.
'At the time of my arrest, I was as fit as a flea, and entirely free of pain. Yet by Christmas, I found myself confined to bed with severe back trouble.'
I would never want to put anybody in danger and always adopt a good skating practice, which means nobody should ever feel threatened. I don't believe I'm a danger to anyone. This case should never have been brought to court.'
The case was adjourned and will reconvene later this month.When hopefully the magistrates will show some backbone and some common sense and throw the case out, and request, instead, that the book be thrown at the officious little gauleiter of a police officer and the cretins at the council that decided to take it forward…