A JUDGE said he was “very suspicious” about the background to an incident in which a car was abandoned after crashing into a wall in the early hours but he was not going to ban a young mother from driving because of the current coronavirus situation and the impact that could have on public transport.
Part of the brick wall collapsed into a garden and there was smoke coming from the vehicle – a Ford Kuga – which still had its engine running.
District Judge Nigel Broderick was speaking at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday regarding Kathryn Mawhinney (25), of Montague Manor, Ballymena.
She was not present in court but her solicitor entered guilty pleas to charges of careless driving and failing to report an accident in relation to September 29 last year.
A prosecutor said police on duty in the Queen Street area saw a Ford vehicle without proper lights on which was straddling the white line and when they turned to follow they found it had crashed into a wall in the Toome Road area.
The doors of the vehicle had been left open and no one was present.
On a later date the defendant told police she had taken a friend to a shop at 4am and told officers she shouldn’t have driven as she had been “tired”.
A defence solicitor told the court the defendant had been in bed at 4am when a friend, who was “expecting”, required medication and they drove to a shop to get medication.
The lawyer said the defendant “is not a drinker” and “doesn’t take drugs”.
He said Mawhinney had “panicked” when police flashed their lights at her because she had no lights on and she then “clips” a wall on a wet night and she continued on into her house.
The solicitor said the defendant “ran” off because she “suffers from panic attacks”.
The court heard the police did not immediately speak to the defendant as they had to deal with something else.
Judge Broderick said he was “very suspicious” about what happened but he was going to give her the benefit of the doubt and not ban her from driving which he said he would have done had it not been for the coronavirus outbreak and the implications for transport she would have as a mother.
The defendant was given six penalty points and a £200 fine.