Sally Blaylock was alleged to have driven her motorcar carelessly on 15 April 2018, when she failed to see a motorbike travelling towards her, prior to commencing a right turn into her place of work. She turned across the path of the oncoming bike and into head on collision. The motorcyclist tragically lost his life. Ms Blaylock, a young lady of otherwise positive good character, was accused of causing the death by her careless driving.
Richard Dawson, instructed by Steven North at Clyde & Co., represented Ms Blaylock at her trial in Newcastle.
This case turned on issues of respective conspicuity, speed and perception/response time. The Prosecution case was that the approaching motorbike was there to be seen and that Ms Blaylock had failed to complete proper and necessary checks before commencing her turn. The Defence case was that the bike was travelling too fast, so that it was out of sight at the time of making checks forward, before committing to the turn.
In the course of careful cross-examination of the Prosecution Collision Investigation Expert, Richard Dawson elicited the concessions that the Expert could not determine whether the motorbike was, in fact, in view prior to Ms Blaylock committing to turning into the carpark and that the Expert could not exclude the possibility that the motorbike was out of view at the relevant moment in time. There was no evidence of braking or deviation by the motorbike. It was likely either that the motorcyclist did not see the car or was travelling considerably faster than the speed limit, so that he had insufficient time to perceive and react to the car.
At the close of the Prosecution case, rather than pursue a Defence submission of no case to answer, the Prosecution were persuaded to offer no evidence.
The Prosecution indicated that having reviewed the case again, given the concessions, there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction. On the direction of the Judge, the Jury returned a Not Guilty verdict – and Ms Blaylock’s clean driving record, together with her good character, was preserved.
Richard Dawson is an expert trial lawyer, specialising in road traffic law and defending drivers charged with offences arising out of catastrophic injury and fatal accidents.
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