A WOMAN who wrote to Limerick City Council that she had burned a sofa to prevent children from injuring themselves claimed in court she had written the letter to protect her mother.
Kim Hughes, of Whitecross Gardens, Moyross, denied unauthorised disposal of waste in a litter prosecution taken by the council at Limerick District Court.
Environment inspector Paul McAnespie described having viewed CCTV footage from January 22 last in which a sofa is removed from Ms Hughes’ house. The burnt-out remnants of the couch were found on a green area nearby the following day.
Ms Hughes was issued with a notice under Section 18 of the Waste Management Act seeking information on how she disposed of her waste and was further summonsed in relation to unauthorised disposal. She had replied to the council that she was a customer of Clean Ireland Recycling and, in relation to the sofa, said she had burned it to keep local children out of harm’s way.
She claimed she had arranged for contractors to remove the sofa on January 23 but had burned the piece of furniture herself when they failed to turn up.
“The kids on the street wanted to burn it and I burnt it myself because I didn’t want the kids to get hurt,” she had written to the council.
Mr McAnespie told Judge Aeneas McCarthy that this act constituted the unauthorised disposal of waste and said the clean-up costs had been met by the council.
John Devane, solicitor for Ms Hughes, asked the inspector whether he would accept Ms Hughes’ version of events that it had been a member of her family who had actually burned the sofa but she was “taking responsibility for it”.
Cross-examined by Ger Reidy, for Limerick City Council, Ms Hughes said it had been her mother who burned the couch. Mr Reidy put it to Ms Hughes that she was “now trying to avoid responsibility for your actions” as admitted in her letter.
Judge McCarthy said he was satisfied to convict on the basis of that correspondence and fined Ms Hughes €300 with 12 weeks to pay.
Costs of €190 were awarded to Limerick City Council.