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A recent Motoring Law case in the Crown Court proved that it is not always wise to simply accept what the Police and Crown Prosecution Service think the law is, particularly when it comes to motoring cases.
A very respectable businessman came to us having accidentally hit an elderly lady with a forklift truck outside his business premises. He was distraught and had voluntarily paid tens of thousands of pounds to the lady as compensation. He had attempted to ensure the safety of the public by having two lookouts keeping an eye out for pedestrians but one had failed to do so properly and unfortunately no one had been expecting the lady to walk along the middle of the road and ignore the two pavements on either side of the road.
Our client was eventually charged with dangerous driving, which we felt was unfair given the safety precautions he had put in place and the fact that pedestrians are not supposed to walk along the middle of busy roads. An independent motoring engineer confirmed that our client had only been driving at around five miles per hour. We argued that our client had at most been guilty of driving without due care and attention, which would have enabled him to keep his driving licence in the circumstances. He needed his driving licence to keep his business going and to be able to continue to employ the forty staff who work in that business. The Crown Prosecution disagreed and insisted on taking the matter to the Crown Court, in order to increase the pressure on our client and leave him open to a significant prison sentence in addition to the loss of his licence.
We instructed a local barrister to represent our client at trial and he made it very clear to the Jury that our client was a good man who had been put in a difficult situation and the Jury agreed that he was not driving dangerously. They returned their verdict within five minutes of leaving the Court to consider the case. The Judge was very sympathetic to our client and he kept his driving licence. Had he accepted what the Police and Crown Prosecution told him the law was, he would have lost his driving licence and his business, forty local people would be unemployed and he may well have gone to jail. This case highlights the fact that, when the stakes are this high, it is crucial that an expert in such matters is instructed.
Author: Jacqueline Emmerson