Care worker’s ‘split moment decision’ caused traffic accident

A care worker whose car was involved in a head-on collision in Dungannon with another vehicle, has lost her licence for three months.

Fifty-six-year-old Gwen Jaswal from Mullaghmoyle Road, Coalisland, was also fined a total of £400 with a £15 offender at Dungannon Magistrates Court on Friday.

Jaswal admitted two charges of causing grievous bodily injury to two men travelling in the other vehicle by careless driving.

The court heard the collision happened in the vicinity of the junction of the Moy Road and the Gortmerron Link Road, Dungannon, on the morning July 10, 2019.

Dungannon Courthouse TT0509-JS112

Imposing the penalties, District Judge Michael Ranaghan remarked that it was a very difficult case for the court given the job the defendant does.

However, he said given the seriousness of the incident and the significant injuries sustained by the two victims some form of disqualification would have to be imposed.

He expressed the hope the defendant’s employer would be able to keep her on in some role within the business.

Prosecuting counsel said police attended the two vehicle collision on the Moy Road around 8am.

She said injuries to the occupants of the other car included a broken wrist, fractured vertebrae; broken collar bone and bruising.

Defence counsel Noel Dillon described it as a momentary lapse of attention on the part of the defendant.

He said she had apologised to the occupants of the car and remained at the scene.

Mr Dillon said the incident had happened two years ago and the defendant has continued to do the same job during the pandemic.

He stressed she required her car to do calls to clients and lived in a remote area outside Stewartstown.

Mr Dillon said she had felt under pressure on this morning as she had a number of clients to see and a “foolish split moment decision” was the cause of the accident.

He asked the court to consider the shortage of care workers in the community at this time when sentencing.

Pleading for leniency, Mr Dillon added that people like the defendant played a very important role in the community.

District Judge Ranaghan told Jaswal to be very careful going forward when driving a motor vehicle and her primary duty is to focus on the safety of other road users and not just to think about clients.

He gave her 18 weeks to pay the fine.

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