Saturday 7 December 2019

Man in car boot lead horse through Kildare town, court hears

Claire O’Brien

A MOTHER-OF-FOUR has been convicted of driving without due consideration after she was caught on the road with her husband in the car-boot, leading a horse.

Heather Josiah (29) pleaded guilty to the offence before Judge Desmond Zaidan, who was so astounded by the evidence, he asked Inspector Jim Doyle to repeat it.

At Athy District Court in Kildare today, the judge, asked “Is that for real?” and said the evidence sounded like a case from 1890 rather than 2012.

Gardai found Ms Josiah at the head of a long stream of slow-moving traffic on Farrington Road, Athy at 4.30pm on March 20 last year, and were surprised to see her husband sitting in the open boot of the green Peugeot 406, leading a horse on a rope.

Inspector Jim Doyle said a very resourceful garda on the scene managed to bring the horse to the Josiah family home, which was not far away.

Ms Josiah, Ardrew Court, Athy, was also before the court for failing to have two children restrained in the car on another date in Athy.

A two-year-old sat on Ms Josiah’s husband’s knee in the front seat and the other was behind the passenger seat.

Solicitor Matthew Byrne said Mr Josiah, who doesn’t read or write didn’t recognise the fixed charge fines when they came in the post and didn’t pass them on to his wife, so she hadn’t been able to pay them.

He said the mother of four, who is expecting her fifth child, is the only driver in the family while her husband is off the road, and said the couple, who are not working, now have a people-carrier to carry their children safely.

He admitted that the case was very unusual, but that he’d seen similar situations growing up in Dublin.

However, Judge Zaidan said the scenes were akin to what Mr Byrne’s great grandfather might have observed.

Questioned by the judge, Ms Josiah said the horse is currently in a field and is not tied to a car anywhere.

Ms Josiah, who has three previous road traffic convictions, also said she appreciates the importance of children wearing their seat-belt.

While the court was initially amused by the case, the Judge went on to observe that had any of the drivers honked their car horn, the horse could have gone out of control.

The situation could have “gone horribly wrong,” he said, convicting Ms Josiah of driving without due care and attention and of carrying and unrestrained child, and imposing fines totaling €600.

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