Mr Happy Goes To Court

Irish Independent; Irish Daily Star; Irish Examiner

A fortuitous coincidence of names may have played a part in saving a driver from a more serious sentence in Naas District Court yesterday (Monday 22 February).

“How can I sentence someone to prison who works for a company called Tender Loving Care?”. And whose name is Mr Happy?” Judge Desmond Zaidan wondered aloud, as he considered sentence in a traffic case.

Mr John Happy, with an address in Craddockstown, Naas, Co Kildare, was charged with failing to remain at the scene of an accident after he struck another car in a car park on 7 August 2009.

The court heard the incident was caught on CCTV, and Gardai were able to trace him from his car registration number.

When questioned by Gardai, he said he was not aware he had hit another car.

“I don’t accept that,” Judge Desmond Zaidan said. “If you hit a stone, you’d know about it.”

“You would know you hit a car,” the judge told the defendant.

Mr Happy works as a care assistant for TLC, a company based in City West.

“What does TLC stand for,” the judge asked.

“Tender Loving Care,” replied Mr Tony Hanahoe, solicitor for the defendant.

The judge said it was a shame the defendant didn’t demonstrate tender loving care in his driving.

The court was told that Mr Happy had no previous offences.

His solicitor said his failure to remain at the scene was uncharacteristic, a result of “blind panic” in the heat of the moment.

The judge asked what sentence the law provided, and was told he could apply a fine of up to €1000 or up to three month’s imprisonment.

“How can I sentence someone to prison who works for a company called Tender Loving Care. And whose name is Mr Happy?” he asked.

Mr Happy was fined €750 by the court. Three other charges were struck out.