A driver, Jonathan Kane, on trial at Truro Crown Court has admitted charges of causing death by careless driving, dangerous driving and driving without insurance, but denies causing death by dangerous driving. The victim has been named ‘Kate’ Bailey who had been walking her collies on 18th July at the time of the incident.
Mr Kane had left his home in a rush to catch his sleeper train, which he initially missed in Bodmin, and was driving to Plymouth to make the next stop. He had been using the First Great Western app in order to track the progress of the train; however, it is not clear yet whether he was using it when the incident occurred. Stephen Mooney, the prosecuting barrister, reveals evidence that Mr Kane was not using mobile internet or making a call or text when the crash took place.
Mr Kane claims that he knew that he had hit something but assumed it was a wheelie bin, since it was bin day. It is thought he got out of his car to inspect the damage, but drove the car off even though it was not in a suitable driving condition.
When he arrived at Plymouth station, witnesses state that there was damage to the passenger side of the car, including the wing and headlight, which pointed in the wrong direction, with smoke coming from the front of the car. When offered a fire extinguisher after failing to catch the sleeper train at Plymouth, he refused it and got back in his car in order make the next stop at Exeter. This was where he caught the train and left his car.
Mr Kane claims that he was unaware that he had hit someone and would not have driven off had he known. Mr Bailey assures that his wife was wearing a high visibility jacket with reflective bands, meaning she would have been visible from at least 50 metres away. The inspection of the crash site shows no indication that Mr Kane attempted to swerve before the crash took place, though he briefly stepped out of the car before leaving to continue his journey.
Even though Kane is also on trial for driving without a license, the jury have been asked to concentrate on the death by dangerous driving charge, which Mr Kane denies. It is evident that he was not speeding at the time of the crash, instead going at approximately half the legal speed limit on the road.
Neil Sargeant, Duncan Lewis Motor Law specialist comments:
“There is a huge difference in the threshold for what amounts to careless driving and what amounts to dangerous driving.
“The test applied is an objective test and the court/jury need to consider whether, based on the evidence, the standard of driving exhibited by the defendant had fallen so far below that of the “competent and careful” driver that it was dangerous and is it that driving that caused the fatality. For example, was it a momentary lapse of concentration or distraction (careless) or was he racing with another vehicle at the time (dangerous).
“One may question how these charges can be brought in the one case (why bring charges of careless and dangerous?) but in this case the defendant appears to be arguing that it was a careless action as opposed to a dangerous one that resulted in the fatality. If accepted by the court then it makes a significant difference in the penalty. This type of case is rarely easy for a jury as it is often human nature to want the driver to be punished when someone has tragically lost their life. It is important they set aside their personal feelings and assess the case solely on the evidence. Was it obvious to a careful and competent driver that what the defendant was doing could result in a fatality?”
Duncan Lewis Road Traffic Solicitors
Legal 500 recommended law firm Duncan Lewis Solicitors are specialists in road traffic law, with particular expertise in drug and alcohol-related motoring offences. We can provide free and comprehensive legal advice on any motoring prosecution, regardless of the allegations.
It is crucial that you seek legal advice immediately, as an early opinion in your case can make a significant difference to the end result. Duncan Lewis Solicitors can be on hand to deal with whatever motoring law issue you may have.
For specialist advice please call our Road Traffic specialist Neil Sargeant on 02031141145 or email him on firstname.lastname@example.org.