Intrigued judge goes easier on Mr Happy
Mr Happy appeared in court yesterday -- but he avoided a more serious sentence after the judge became intrigued with not just his name but that of his employer's too.
When John Happy appeared at Naas District Court over motoring offences, Judge Desmond Zaidan heard he worked as a care assistant for a firm called TLC.
"What does TLC stand for?" the judge asked.
"Tender Loving Care (a nursing home)," replied Tony Hanahoe, solicitor for Mr Happy.
"How can I sentence someone to prison who works for a company called Tender Loving Care, and whose name is Mr Happy?" the judge wondered aloud.
Mr Happy, of Church Court, Craddockstown, Naas, Co Kildare, was charged with failing to remain at the scene of an accident after he struck another vehicle in a car park on August 7 last year.
The court heard the incident was caught on CCTV, and gardai were able to trace him from his car registration. When questioned by gardai, he said he was not aware he had hit a car.
"I don't accept that," the judge said. "If you hit a stone, you'd know about it. You would know you hit a car."
The judge said it was a shame Mr Happy did not demonstrate tender loving care in his driving.
The court was told Mr Happy had no previous offences. His solicitor said his failure to stay at the scene was uncharacteristic, a result of "blind panic" in the heat of the moment.
The judge asked what sentence the law provided, and was told he could apply a fine of up to €1,000 or up to three months' imprisonment. Mr Happy was fined €750. Three other charges were struck out.