09 Aug 2022

Portarlington woman's unrestrained child could have been 'a projectile' in the car

Portarlington woman's unrestrained child could have been 'a projectile' in the car

A Portarlington woman who drove with her child not properly restrained in the car has had a driving disqualification lifted on appeal at Portlaoise Circuit Court.

Lisa Harty (33), Woodlands Park, Portarlington, was convicted in Portlaoise District Court of failing to restrain a child under five years of age in a child restraint in her car, at Cooltaderry, Portarlington, on March 21, 2016.

When the case came before the district court last November, solicitor, Mr Declan Breen said his client was a married woman with six children.

Mr Breen said that she was frustrated on the day and made “a feeble attempt” to secure the child, while other children in the car were secured.

She had no previous convictions of this nature, said Mr Breen, adding that her husband does not drive.

In ruling, Judge Catherine Staines told the accused: “Maybe I’ll be able to save your children’s lives.”

The judge convicted and fined her €100 and disqualified her from driving for three months, with recognisance fixed in the event of an appeal.

At the recent appeal in Portlaoise, barrister, Ms Louise Troy said that on the day there had been a three-year-old and a seven-year-old child in the back seat of the car. The appellant got flustered on the day and didn’t realise the seat belt was across the child.

Ms Troy said that her client’s partner does not drive.

Judge Keenan Johnson said that if there had been an accident, not alone would the child have been injured but others could have been too, as the child would have become a projectile.

He said that in fairness to Judge Staines, the district court judge had been trying to highlight how serious the matter was.

Judge Johnson agreed to lift the driving disqualification.

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