A RATHKEALE woman tried to hide her grandchild in the back of a van after she was caught driving with the baby sitting unrestrained on the front seat.
Jane O’Brien, of Abbeycourt, Rathkeale was charged with careless driving after she was stopped by gardai at Cloghacloka, Patrickswell on July 16, 2011.
Speaking in court in Newcastle West last Thursday, Garda John Shanahan said that he was on patrol at 5.30pm when he saw a white Ford Transit being driven by Ms O’Brien with “three passengers in the front seat”, one of which had “a young baby” sitting on their lap.
Garda Shanahan signalled for the van to stop, but by the time it did the baby was no longer in the front. He search the van and found the ten-month-old child “hidden under clothes” in the back.
He also found two elderly people sitting in the back without seats or restraints.
Solicitor Denis Lenihan, defending, said that Ms O’Brien is a widow in her 60s who has no previous convictions.
He said that she “accepts responsibility” that as the driver of the van, it was her duty to make sure that the child was safely restrained.
Mr Lenihan added that Ms O’Brien “panicked” when stopped by Garda Shanahan. He said that Ms O’Brien had travelled back from the UK, where she lives, in order to plead guilty in court in person.
Judge Mary O’Halloran endorsed Ms O’Brien’s driving licence, and fined her €150.