26 Jun 2022

Offaly man tried to outrun Gardaí with child in his car

Suspect arrested after garda chase through fields in North Kilkenny

A man has received a number of fines for motoring offences including driving without reasonable consideration after he failed to stop for gardaí and drove off at speed.

At last week’s sitting of Portlaoise District Court, John Harty (30), Woodlands Park, Portarlington, on the Laois/Offaly border, was charged with driving without reasonable consideration; failing to restrain a child in the car; failing to deactivate the airbag; non display of disc; and no left front lamp, all on March 7, 2016.

Inspector Eamonn Curley gave evidence that at 00.15am on that morning, the gardaí observed the accused driving with no front headlight on.

They followed the man and activated their lights, but the accused failed to stop and drove off at speed, with the gardaí having to travel at speeds up to 140km/h in their pursuit.

The gardaí lost sight of him as he was still driving at speed, with a number of other vehicles on the road.

The car eventually stopped at Emo and when the gardaí spoke to the accused they observed a child in a front facing seat with a seatbelt around it. This was not a proper child restraint and the airbag in the vehicle had not been deactivated.

Defence, Mr Philip Meagher said that the child had been staying with the accused’s mother-in-law on the night, but the child got upset and granny couldn’t calm it down.

The accused drove from Portarlington to Portlaoise to collect the child and was not aware that the gardaí were behind him at first, only becoming aware after a number of miles, it was claimed.

Mr Meagher said that his client would say he would be extremely surprised if he had reached the speeds outlined by State’s evidence with this speed perhaps being a rather high estimate, but the accused was entering a plea to the matter.

In relation to the child restraint, Mr Meagher said the accused had a good system in place with a booster seat, but unfortunately it was facing forwards rather than backwards.

Regarding the lack of front headlight, defence said that a bulb was gone in the lamp.

For driving without reasonable consideration, the accused was fined €100; for no tax, he was fined €300; imposing a fine of €100 on the restraint charge, Judge Catherine Staines said that at least the child had been restrained, otherwise she would have disqualified the accused; the charges of no front lamp and not deactivating the airbag were taken into consideration.

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