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Son (4) clung on as biker dad sped off

A FATHER-of-two who drove away at speed from gardai with his four-year-old son hanging on to the crossbar of his scrambler bike has denied he drove dangerously.

John Alright (31) said he could put both feet on the ground at all times and that his son never slipped off the bike.

Careless

He begged a judge not to ban him from driving, saying his young daughter had a heart and lung condition, was unable to walk for long, and he needed his licence so he could bring her to school.

A garda witness said Alright drove off at high speed when he saw the patrol car, swerved violently when he drove over a grass verge, and as he went over a kerb the bike "kicked" suddenly and he lost control of it.

A judge ordered a probation report and ordered Alright to complete 60 hours' community service in lieu of two months in jail.

He escaped a mandatory driving ban after Judge Anthony Halpin accepted a plea for the lesser charge of careless driving.

Alright, of Shangan Gardens in Ballymun, admitted before Blanchardstown District Court to driving without insurance, a driving licence or road tax.

Slipped

He also admitted to careless driving in the incident on Shangan Avenue shortly before 12.30pm on March 20 last.

Alright was originally charged with dangerous driving, but he denied he endangered his son, saying the garda's evidence was "exaggerated" and his son never slipped, or had to pull himself back up on to the bike.

Terence Hanahoe, defending, said Alright admitted to careless driving but the garda would not accept a guilty plea to the reduced charge.

Garda Patrick Gorman said he was on mobile patrol when he saw Alright driving a field bike.

He wasn't wearing a helmet and he had a child sitting in front of him.

Garda Gorman said Alright took off at speed when he saw him, going 20 metres on the footpath, crossing a grass verge and swerving violently.

The garda claimed the bike then kicked suddenly and the child nearly fell off.

Judge Halpin said Alright's driving was irresponsible to say the least, but he would accept a plea to careless driving.

Mr Hanahoe said out-of-work Alright has a partner and two children and he is the main carer for the children.

hnews@herald.ie


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