Acquitted Of Careless Driving In Paisley JPC
The case went to trial in Paisley Justice of the Peace Court on 11 April 2018 and involved an allegation that the accused drove his vehicle without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users by failing to give way at a junction. Unfortunately there was another vehicle crossing the junction at the time and a rather nasty collision occurred.
This case fell into the ‘looked but did not see’ category and the court’s consideration of the case focussed on the weather conditions at the time. The accused was driving eastbound in the early hours of a February morning and maintained that the accident was caused by being temporarily blinded by the sun. These cases often can involve the Crown suggesting that an accused person was either negligent by failing to apply brakes or pull over immediately whenever the danger presented itself.
A driver confronted by an emergency should not be judged with the benefit of hindsight and it is equally important to note that the court should not demand a standard of perfection when considering the facts and circumstances of a particular case. If during the literal second or two while a driver has lost proper vision or control an accident occurs which is due entirely to that loss of vision or control, it is submitted that he is not guilty of careless driving.
The present case was interesting because the court upheld our submission of no case to answer on the basis that the Police evidence confirmed the potentially blinding presence of the low sun and, as the Crown had failed to exclude that issue as being the true cause of the accident, there was a lack of evidence which would have entitled the court to convict in the circumstances.
Our client was initially offered a fixed penalty for careless driving (3 penalty points & £100) however, quite properly, elected to refuse the offer and go to court. The decision was entirely validated by the acquittal after trial. A driver can often feel pressurised into accepting tickets for minor road traffic offences however it is important to remember that the court is also there for the benefit of an accused.
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