Athy District Court probably heard one of its most bizarre cases ever last Tuesday, January 8.
An Englishwoman, Heather Josiah, whose address is listed as 4 Ardrew Meadows, Athy, was charged with driving without due consideration after Gardai were alerted by slow moving traffic at 4.30pm on March 20 on the Fort Barrington road, Athy.
The reason for the slow traffic was that at the head of a long line of traffic, Ms. Josiah was driving her car, a green Peugeot, very slowly with her husband in the boot of the car, leading a horse through the open door of the boot.
Judge Desmond Zaidan had to ask Inspect Jim Doyle to repeat the story again, and wondered if we had all wandered back a couple of centuries.
Her solicitor Matt Byrne admitted he’d never encountered such an incident either.
The incident occurred only a few yards from the door of the defendant’s house. The court heard that Gardai intervened and, in the words of Jude Zaidan, gave the horse a “Garda escort” home.
Ms. Josiah who has four children and is expecting another actually faced another charge that day, that of allowing a child to be in her car without a seat-belt a week earlier on March 13 at Emily Square, Athy.
She pleaded guilty to all charges.
Fixed fines had been issued in relation to both offences and were not paid. The reason given was that Ms. Josiah’s husband can neither read nor write and didn’t identify the envelopes with the fines in them, so she never got them.
Ms. Josiah is 29 years of age and does all the driving for the family. As such, needs her license, Mr. Bryne explained. He added that she was a “genuine lady”.
The family have lived in Athy for seven years. Neither are working.
“Where is the horse now,” the judge asked.
“In a field,” Mr. Byrne replied.
He added that his client now appreciated the significance of a safety belt.
The Judge paid tribute to the other drivers for not blowing their horns, which could have startled the horse.
He fined the defendant a total of €600.