Case Study

Jury clears driver of death by careless driving charge

Incident date: 
Mon, 23 Apr 2012

A man involved in a road crash in which a popular motorcyclist was fatally injured, has been cleared of causing his death by careless driving.

John Kay, 58, was found not guilty after a three-day trial at Burnley Crown Court yesterday.

Mr Kay, of Tower Farm, Gisburn Road, Blacko, described as a man of good character, had denied the charge. He was discharged from the dock by Judge Graham Knowles, QC. The jury took 43 minutes to reach its verdict.

The jury had heard claims that Mr Kay caused the collision, on April 23 last year, by careless driving. It had been alleged he had started to turn right into Tower Farm when it was unsafe to do so. He was said by the prosecution to have ‘completely failed’ to see father-of-two Jeremy White, 47, coming towards him on his Kawasaki 1100 bike and turned directly into the path of the motorcycle.

Mr White, of Pine Street, Nelson, crashed into the front of the Ford Transit Tipper van driven by Mr Kay. He hit a wall, was thrown off the bike, over a wall and landed in a field. He was airlifted to the Royal Preston Hospital, but died about two hours later from multiple injuries.

The hearing had been told how when Mr Kay was interviewed by police a week after the accident, he told them in his mind the road had been clear. He had started to turn and then there had been ‘an explosion, just bang’. He thought he had hit a wall.

The court heard Mr Kay got out of his vehicle immediately after the accident and went to try and help Mr White as he lay unconscious.

The defendant, represented at trial by Andrew Nuttall, told police he had done the turn many times before and was conscious of motorcycles using the road. He said the road had been clear and he could see nothing coming towards him as he started making the manoeuvre. In his mind, the road was clear.

Mr White, known to his friends as “Jez”, had been travelling home from work when the accident happened at about 4.30pm.

The father of two young daughters was a popular member of Burnley and District Motorcycle Club and was well-known in the biking community. A convoy of dozens of motorcyclists formed an escort for Mr White’s funeral cortège on its way to Burnley Crematorium.

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