Judge's praise for mother who shopped her son for car crime
A District Judge has commended a mother who reported her teenage son to the police after he took her car without getting permission.
Judge Barney McElholm said the woman acted in a "highly responsible" manner. "Too many of us - and I mean all of us - overindulge our children and have a tendency to try to excuse their bad behaviour," said the judge.
He went on to publicly praise the mother of the young man for her decision to inform police when she discovered that her son had taken her car keys from her bedroom.
The judge said: "This man's mother acted in a highly responsible and civic manner."
Mr McElholm made his comments in the case of Daniel Armstrong (18), who admitted taking his mother's car without her consent from their Fernabbey Drive home in Derry on February 21.
He also admitted driving without insurance and without L-plates displayed.
A prosecution solicitor told the court that the defendant woke his mother up at 4am on the pretext that the kitchen oven was on.
When his mother returned to bed she noticed that her car keys, which she kept under her pillow, were missing.
She then heard the noise of her car being driven away and she reported the matter to the police.
The defendant was stopped by a police mobile patrol a short time later driving along Strand Road.
Armstrong was fined a total of £250 and had six penalty points imposed on his licence.
Judge McElholm is renowned for speaking his mind during cases.
He has previously labelled unruly street drinkers "blue bag bandits", admonished police officers over not producing papers at cases and slammed an internet travel guide for labelling Derry a crime hotspot.