Peterborough dad drove with seven-year-old son on his lap

David Balaz:  Picture by Terry Harris. THA
David Balaz: Picture by Terry Harris. THA

A man who allowed his seven-year-old son to sit on his lap and hold the steering wheel as he drove has narrowly avoided being sent to prison.

Car wash worker David Balaz (28) of Watergall, Bretton, was given a suspended jail sentence at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court after getting behind the wheel with his child on his knee.

Balaz - originally from Slovakia - was already disqualified from driving at the time of the offence in September last year, and had no insurance.

Barry Hargreaves, prosecuting, told the court: “Officers in a marked police car were on patrol at 3.55pm when they saw the Audi. The car stopped by the side of the road, and the officer says he witnessed what appeared to be a young child, approximately seven years old, with his hands on the wheel at the ten-to-two position.

“The child was sat in the lap of the male driver.

“When he saw the officers, the driver lifted the child from his lap into the rear of the car.

“There was another child in the car at the time of the offence.”

Balaz, a father of four, was disqualified from driving in 2016 after ‘totting’ up 12 points. The court heard the ban had nearly finished when he was caught by the officers.

Jeremy Roberts, defending, told the court he accepted the offence had crossed the custody threshold - but urged District Judge Ken Sheraton to adjourn the case to allow probation to carry out a stand-down report to consider all sentencing options.

The case was stood down until after the lunch break, when a probation officer said: “THis was reckless with a lack of consequential thinking.

“He now realises how dangerous this was.”

Mr Roberts said: “He did not realise he was disqualified from driving. He did not realise the seriousness of the situation, He only drove 50m round the corner, and did not think there would be any other vehicles around.”

Balaz pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.

He was given an eight week jail sentence, suspended for 12 months, ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work and banned from driving for 12 months. He will have to take an extended retest before he able to get his licence back.

Balaz was also ordered to pay £85 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.