A woman summonsed for allowing a child jump around the back of her car whilst she was driving was given the Probation Act in the District Court this week (April 1 ), after the judge heard how the child was deaf and had since been diagnosed with autism.
Before the court was Ann Joyce (27 ), from Sarsfield Square, Athlone, who had been stopped by Garda Breda Smyth on September 16 at Monksland after she had observed her four-year-old child in the back seat “jumping around with no seatbelt”.
In her defence, Mr Padraig Quinn told the court of the child's afflictions.
“She takes the matter very seriously because her father was killed in a road accident,” said Mr Quinn.
“Why didn't Ms Joyce just tell the Garda then about the difficulties?” Judge John Neilan asked.
“The Gardai have plenty of discretion”.
Mr Quinn told the court he was of the opinion his client had informed the garda of the child's deafness but that the autism diagnosis had been subsequent to the incident.
Judge Neilan then spoke at length about the dangers of lazy driving and how he'd love an opportunity to be at the coalface for a time.
“I'd love to have the blue uniform for one day and pop up the other side of a ditch and put my hand out,” he said.
“Ah, but I'm the wrong side of 40 for that.”