Driver cleared of wrongdoing on re-trial – case stopped at half-time

A driver, FE, was cleared of wrongdoing after pulling across the path of an oncoming motorcycle, whose rider was tragically killed in the ensuing collision.

In what was to be her final Jury trial before retirement, a Judge in Preston, who had presided over the original trial, ruled that there was no case to answer at the close of the Prosecution case on the re-trial.

The evidence revealed that the motorcycle had been obscured from the view of FE by another car, which was turning right ahead of it.  At a point when the bike would have been visible to FE, FE had already completed his checks, committed to his manoeuvre and was about 1 second into the turn.  Collision Reconstruction experts for both Prosecution and Defence agreed that the window of visibility of the bike before impact was, at most, only 1.9 seconds.  That was dependent on FE looking out of his driver door window at that moment.  In any event, given reaction times, the collision was inevitable.  FE could not have stopped or moved his motorcar prior to impact.

The experts agreed that had the bike been ridden at or below the speed limit, there would not have been a collision.  There was ample distance for the bike to be slowed or even brought to a standstill before collision.

Regrettably, the bike was being ridden at a grossly excessive speed, with no regard for other road users, so the motorcyclist did not himself have time to react.

Takeaway: all road users owe each other reciprocal duties of care and attention.

Thanks go to Ellie Akhgar at Garratts Solicitors for all her efforts in preparing this case for trial – and, in particular, for persuading FE to fight this case, rather than simply capitulating and pleading guilty at the very first hearing – the right result was eventually reached!

Richard Dawson is an expert trial lawyer, specialising in road traffic law, defending drivers charged with offences arising out of catastrophic or fatal accidents.

To view Richard’s full profile, click here.

To instruct Richard Dawson, please contact Ty Price, or a member of the Clerking team at Lincoln House Chambers on: 0161 832 5701