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Bantry driver denies car hit her daughter’s then-boyfriend

May 12th, 2024 9:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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A WOMAN was convicted at Bantry District Court on a charge of careless driving, after the court heard that two boys had to jump out of the way of her oncoming car.

Solicitor Killian McCarthy told Judge Philip O’Leary that his client Una Vinaude (44), Meadow Heights, Lahadane, Bantry, was contesting the charge of careless driving.

In evidence for the State, Donal O’Sullivan, said he was walking with his older brother at around 10am on the morning of January 27th 2023 at Scart Road, when a vehicle approached at speed.

He said he was in front of his brother, who is no longer living in Ireland, and tried to take evasive action by jumping on the wall at the side of the road.

Despite this, the witness said he sustained a blow to his elbow, which he presumed was from the wing mirror of the Ford Focus.

He said he didn’t see the driver because she was ‘going very fast’ but his brother did and named her as Una Vinaude, who was known to them.

Donal O’Sullivan said he did not seek medical attention but continued on to Youth Reach where he spoke to a worker there, and his father, who subsequently reported the matter to gardaí.

In defence of his client, Killian McCarthy said the boy’s father incorrectly told gardaí that the vehicle rolled over his son’s foot, and he asked the young witness: ‘Are you making this up?’

The witness denied that and, in further cross-examination, he said he judged the speed of the vehicle because he could hear it revving as it approached.

In response to a question put by Judge Philip O’Leary, the witness said there is no footpath and that they had walked on the ‘incorrect’ side of the road.

He said an overhanging bush on the ‘correct’ side meant it was safer to talk on the left-hand side of the road.

The solicitor submitted that the offence was ‘a story’ fabricated by the father and the two brothers.

But Donal O’Sullivan denied this and referred to the fact that the woman’s daughter had been his girlfriend at the time.

The solicitor said his client, who has no previous convictions, would challenge any assertion that she had purposely swerved into these young boys, but Judge O’Leary interjected saying no such allegation had been made.

‘I don’t accept that. That is not the case against your client,’ the judge told Mr McCarthy. ‘There is no suggestion that she deliberately tried to hit the youngsters.’

In evidence in her own defence, Una Vinaude described her control of her vehicle as ‘everyday driving’ and she denied the charge of careless driving.

‘I was not close to them. There was plenty of space for them. Donal’s claim that his elbow was clipped is a lie,’ she told the court.

After considering the evidence, Judge O’Leary convicted the accused of careless driving and fined her €200 for the offence.

The conviction is to be endorsed on her licence. And she was given four months to pay the fine.

Mr McCarthy was granted free legal aid to represent the accused and the solicitor asked for recognisances to be fixed for an appeal.

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