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Driver ordered to pay €5k over crash which scarred child

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Rachel Breen

Rachel Breen

Rachel Breen

A Dublin-based occupational therapist who left a toddler with permanent facial scars after she drove dangerously through a busy junction has been given four months to pay €5,000.

Rachel Breen (46), who has also been disqualified from driving for four years, claimed she didn't see the upcoming junction from what gardaí agreed was a poorly marked and badly surfaced secondary road.

Garda Cliona Mulligan accepted that Breen had been travelling below the 80kph speed limit and was found at the scene administering first aid to the injured toddler.

Breen, of Shenick Avenue, Skerries, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm to the then two-year-old boy at Naul Road, Balbriggan on October 6, 2012.

Judge Desmond Hogan described Breen as a "decent woman" who had made a "serious error of judgement, with serious consequences".

He noted that all injured parties had been compensated as Breen was fully insured.

FACTORS

The judge said he would not impose a custodial sentence as aggravating factors such as speed and intoxication were absent.

He told the court a €5,000 fine was appropriate since Breen's working life will be affected by her driving ban.

Gda Mulligan told Ronan Kennedy BL, prosecuting, that the toddler's mother had been driving on the Naul Road towards Millfield Shopping Centre when she felt a sudden impact.

Her vehicle lifted up briefly on the passenger side and collided with a third car.

The woman later told gardai she had pleaded with passers-by to get her son out of the back in case the car caught on fire.

The driver of the third car described seeing a silver Skoda Octavia plough into the junction, causing an oncoming vehicle to hit his.

The fire services had to cut this man from his car as his foot had become stuck.

Breen told gardaí she leapt out of her car, which was also occupied by her teenage daughter and the daughter's two friends, and immediately tried to help the woman and child.

She said she took the baby out of the back seat and sat with him in her lap as emergency services arrived.

The child was left with scars to his face.

In a victim impact statement, the child's mother said he fully recalled the crash and though he had been afraid to get into a car afterwards, he could now travel without incident.

HAPPY

She described her son as a "happy child" but said the accident had affected her psychologically.

Gda Mulligan agreed with John Aylmer SC, defending, that his client was "absolutely" a fit and competent driver.

She accepted that had there been an improvement in the road signs, Breen might have seen them.

hnews@herald.ie


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