Ryde Local Court
The Law: Our client was charged with negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm pursuant to section 42(1)(b) of the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999.
The Collision: It was alleged that our client was turning right from a side street onto a main road to travel east when he collided with a motorcyclist who had been travelling in a westerly direction along the main road. Following the collision, the motorcyclist landed some 15 metres away from the point of impact. He sustained serious injuries and was taken to hospital. The motorcyclist claimed that our client had entered the intersection in front of him without giving him way. The prosecution alleged that our client was negligent in doing so.
There were no eye witnesses to the actual accident, however upon hearing the impact, a witness looked and saw the motor cycle rider land approximately 15 metres from impact point.
We retained an expert who prepared a detailed report about the road and its condition. The Certificate of Expert Evidence and the Expert’s Report were relied upon pursuant to section 177 Evidence Act. It became apparent that the road along which the motorcyclist was travelling had a substantial crest which ultimately obscured our client’s vision for a brief area before the crest. Our client maintained at all times that he had stopped at the intersection checked both directions and once he satisfied himself that there was a sufficient opening he entered the intersection to navigate the turn safely. The expert conducted a site inspection and was able to produce to the court photographs which essentially supported our client’s instructions – ie. at the point at which he came to a stop, a portion of the road beyond the crest was not visible.
The motorcyclist in his statement to police maintained that he was not speeding and that he had seen our client’s vehicle stationary as he came over the crest. However under cross examination by us it became apparent that at the time the motorcyclist was approaching the crest he was attempting to make the lights which had just turned amber. It was suggested that in doing so he had accelerated and in fact increased his speed above the posted speed limit. Despite the motorcyclist denying this, he gave inconsistent evidence under cross examination, contradicting the version that he had originally supplied to police. We argued that he was not a credible witness and that his original statement should not be accepted. We asked the court to infer that it was due to the high speed of the motorcyclist and the crest in the road that he was concealed at the time that our client cleared the right side of the road. Logically, how would he have travelled 15 metres post-collision if he had not been speeding?
After careful consideration of persuasive closing submissions made by us, the Magistrate was not satisfied that the prosecution case had been proved. The charge against our client was dismissed – not guilty.