Saturday 7 December 2019

Judge slams mother-of-seven who drove car with toddler unrestrained and facing incorrectly

Stock image of a toddler in a car seat. Photo: Getty
Stock image of a toddler in a car seat. Photo: Getty

A JUDGE slammed a mother-of-seven who drove her car with a child under the age of three in a child seat that was unrestrained and facing the incorrect way.

Judge Dermot Dempsey told Margaret McDonagh she 'might as well put a loaded gun in front of the child' and could not understand 'what sort of lunatic gets into a car' and does not restrain a child.

McDonagh of Maple Avenue, Ballybrack, was stopped at a checkpoint on the M1 northbound when Garda Robert Dillon noticed her car tax was out by six months.

He then noticed that a child, who was under the age of three, was in a child seat but that the child was not properly restrained in the seat, that the seat was not restrained properly and that it was a rear-facing seat which was facing forward.

McDonagh (44) pleaded guilty to non display of road tax and failing to restrain a child on June 30th, 2013.

Defence solicitor Fiona D'Arcy told Balbriggan District Court that McDonagh was petrified at the time as she was a victim of domestic violence.

'She should have put the seat in properly and she knows the seriousness of it but she was trying to get away from the situation she was in,' said Ms D'Arcy.

Judge Dempsey replied: 'She takes a child from that situation and puts the child in an unsafe situation in her car? What was she thinking? This just annoys me. She would be very upset if there was any form of collision and the child was killed. I cannot understand this. She might as well put a loaded gun in front of the child.'

He convicted and fined McDonagh €50 for having no road tax and took into consideration the charge of failing to restrain a child.

He refused free legal aid as he said the offences did not merit it.

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