A FLORENCECOURT woman who knocked down a father and his young son in an Enniskillen carpark a few days after Christmas has been acquitted of careless driving.
Katie Jane Finlay (22) of Mill Road, Florencecourt denied driving without due care and attention at Eden Street carpark on Wellington Road on December 28 last year, but admitted that her car had impacted with Neil Greene and his five-year-old son Oliver, who she said had run out in front of her unexpectedly.
It was put to Finlay she had not been paying attention while driving through the carpark, focusing instead on finding a parking space, when she knocked the father and son down. She denied this, stating she had only been driving at 5mph and they had ran out in front of the car.
Mr Greene gave evidence to Enniskillen Magistrates Court last Wednesday that he had been stuck in traffic with his wife and son on Wellington Road, when his son needed to go to the toilet. As the traffic was moving so slowly, Mr Greene and Oliver left the car and went to the toilets near the carpark on Eden Street.
He said it had been raining at the time, but insisted he and his son were not rushing as they made their way back to the car, which was still in traffic and being driven by Mr Greene’s wife Sarah. He said they were walking on the raised, designated pedestrian pathway. Photos were shown to the court of this area.
Mr Greene said Finlay’s car was around “four or five car lengths away” when he first saw it and was travelling slowly. He explained he had been walking along at a fast pace, but not running, holding his son’s hand when the car hit him in the leg, injuring his knee.
The impact caused him to fall onto the bonnet of the car and slipped off onto the ground when it stopped. His son was also injured in the impact, and Mr Greene said the five-year-old’s face was covered in blood.
Afterwards, he said Finlay ran over to them and was upset, stating she hadn’t seen them
In her evidence to the court, Finlay insisted the father and son had come out in front of her and she hadn’t seen them making their way down through the car park.
The 22-year-old, who has been driving since she was 17, said Mr Greene and his son must have been running due to the speed at which they appeared in front of her, and also denied they had been on the pedestrian path, explaining she remembered moving her car following the incident not on the raised pathway.
Finlay, who said she was very upset following in the incident, admitted her car had impacted with Mr Greene at the front middle of the vehicle.
District Judge Nigel Broderick, in making his ruling, explained as this was a criminal case, not a civil case, the standard of proof was much higher and said he must be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Finlay had driven in a careless manner.
Stating he felt both Mr Greene and Finlay had given their evidence in “a straightforward and honest manner”, and it had been difficult to reconcile their accounts as “clearly they can’t both be right”. Judge Broderick pointed out that both may believe their accounts to be true, however, stating their recollections may be clouded.
Stating he could not rule beyond reasonable doubt that Finlay had driven carelessly, he dismissed the charge against her.
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