A MOTORIST caught with seven passengers in his five-seater car including three children aged one, two and four who were unrestrained, has been told by a judge they could have been killed if there had been an accident.
At Ballymena Magistrates Court, Florin Cordovan (26), of Clarence Street in Ballymena, pleaded guilty to using a vehicle when the number of passengers carried was such that it involved danger; and three charges of carrying children aged under 12 in the rear without safety restraints.
The charges relate to Clonavon Road in Ballymena on July 26 this year.
A prosecutor said on July 26 police saw a Fiat Punto being driven at Linenhall Street in Ballymena which had a number of “excess and unrestrained passengers – children”.
The vehicle was followed for a short distance and when it pulled up outside a property police saw three young people get out and walk into the property.
Police approached and there were still five people inside meaning that eight people had been inside the car, the prosecutor said.
The defendant was the owner and driver of the vehicle.
The prosecutor said the vehicle would normally be able to hold five people.
The prosecutor said the defendant initially “lied” to police about a previous similar offence.
However, the prosecutor said, the defendant then confirmed that on July 26 he had three unrestrained passengers aged one, two and four years of age.
The defendant told the court he was “very sorry”.
District Judge Nigel Broderick said there were eight people in the car and if there was an accident the children “could get killed”.
The judge said the defendant, who said he worked in Moy Park, committed a similar offence in October 2019 when he was banned from driving.
The defendant, who said he had a Romanian licence, was fined £500 and given three penalty points for the latest offences.
The judge told him: “I’m going to warn you, if you come back before me with your children in the car with no seat belts, I’m going to disqualify you the next time”.