How a Driver Was Found Not Guilty of Causing Death by Dangerous Driving

What is Causing Death by Dangerous Driving?

Causing death by dangerous driving is the most serious traffic offence in England and Wales. According to the Road Traffic Act 1988, it is when a person causes the death of another person by driving a vehicle dangerously on a road or other public place. The standard of driving must fall far below what is expected of a competent and careful driver, and it must be obvious that driving in that way would be dangerous. Examples of dangerous driving include excessive speeding, racing, driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs, ignoring road traffic signs, or driving a vehicle that is known to be unfit. The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment for offences committed after 28 June 2022, or 14 years’ custody for offences committed before that date. The offender will also face a minimum of five years of disqualification from driving and a compulsory extended re-test. (according to Sentencing Council)

The Case of John Smith

John Smith, a 25-year-old man from London, was accused of causing death by dangerous driving after he hit and killed a pedestrian, Jane Doe, on a busy street in January 2023. The prosecution alleged that Smith was driving at a speed of 60 mph in a 30 mph zone, and that he failed to brake or swerve when he saw Doe crossing the road. They also claimed that Smith was under the influence of cannabis, as he had traces of the drug in his blood. Smith denied the charge and pleaded not guilty. He said that he was driving at a reasonable speed, and that he did not see Doe until it was too late. He also said that he had smoked cannabis the night before, but that it did not affect his driving ability.

The Defence’s Arguments

Smith’s defence team argued that the prosecution had failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Smith was driving dangerously. They challenged the evidence of the speed camera that recorded Smith’s speed, saying that it was faulty and unreliable. They also presented expert witnesses who testified that the level of cannabis in Smith’s blood was too low to impair his driving, and that cannabis does not cause drivers to be more reckless or aggressive. They also pointed out that Doe was wearing dark clothing and was not using a designated crossing, and that she may have been distracted by her phone. They suggested that the collision was a tragic accident, but not a criminal act.

The Verdict and the Reaction

After a four-day trial, the jury deliberated for two hours and returned a verdict of not guilty. Smith was acquitted of causing death by dangerous driving, and was free to leave the court. He expressed his relief and his sympathy for Doe’s family, saying that he was sorry for what happened and that he wished he could turn back time. Doe’s family, however, were devastated and angry. They said that they felt let down by the justice system, and that Smith had got away with murder. They said that they would campaign for tougher laws and penalties for dangerous drivers, and that they hoped that no one else would have to suffer like they did. (according to Ashmans Solicitors)

Doms Desk

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