Richard Dawson secures acquittal of lorry driver accused of causing death by careless driving

Andrew Tootill was alleged to have driven his Large Goods Vehicle (LGV – articulated lorry) carelessly on 20 May 2017, when he failed to identify a motorbike in his blind spot, in the course of completing an overtake manoeuvre on the M6 motorway.  The motorbike was squeezed against protective barriers on the near side, in place to protect workers engaged in the motorway widening project.  The motorcyclist tragically lost his life.  Mr Tootill, a lorry driver of more than 20 years experience, was accused of causing the death by his careless driving.

Richard Dawson, instructed by Naomi North and Russell Hall at Kennedys Law LLP, represented Mr Tootill at his trial in Chester.

At the conclusion of the trial, the Jury returned after less than an hour of deliberation.  They unanimously returned a Not Guilty verdict and Mr Tootill’s clean driving record, together with his good character, was preserved.

The motorcyclist was riding with the Black Pistons Motorcycle Club.  43 bikes from the Club were riding in convoy along the M6.  The manner of their riding prevented the LGV joining the motorway from the slip road.  Having joined the motorway, due to the speed of the motorcycle convoy in lane one, the LGV moved into lane two and began to pass the bikes.  As the LGV reached the front of the convoy, the bikes increased their speed and began to pass the lorry, both in lane one and lane three, cutting up the lorry, cutting into the front blind spot, in a dangerous manner.  Andrew Tootill decided to move into lane one, to a place of relative safety, intending to reduce the risk of accidentally running over a motorbike.  Notwithstanding delaying his manoeuvre to make checks and prolonged indication of his intention to move left, witnessed by some of the biker Prosecution witnesses, unfortunately Mr Tootill missed a motorbike in his near side blind spot, which the accident reconstruction experts involved in the case agreed was tracking in the blind spot at the same speed as the LGV.

Following the verdict, the Trial Judge, the Recorder of Chester, who had rejected a Defence application to dismiss the case at an earlier hearing, asked the Prosecution to liaise with the Club regarding the manner of their riding in convoy on future occasions.

Read more via Birmingham Mail.

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

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