Posted on Thursday, January 17, 2013 by everesty nuralia pritama
An odd and disturbing case was decided in Solihull Magistrates' Court this week. The Solihull news today reports that Ichhapal Bhamra was sentenced to a fine of just £35 and unspecified court costs and 3 penalty points after his conviction of driving without due care.
The bad driving occurred on 27th June 2012 and involved a collision with a cyclist, Tom Ridgway, who tragically died from the injuries sustained in consequence of the collision..
It appears that Bhamra pleaded guilty to the charge of driving without due care. The fact that he was not charged with causing death by careless driving and the extremely light sentence suggests that his plea must have been given (and accepted by the CPS) on the basis that his bad driving had not caused Mr Ridgway's death, or indeed any significant harm. It is very similar to the sentence (£37 plus victim surcharge of £15 plus costs of £85 and 3 penalty points) given to Levi Rayner, after I insisted that he was prosecuted for careless driving after a very close pass in Hounslow that I filmed last year. The victim surcharge will have been mandatory in Bhamra's case and the costs are likely to have been of a similar order to Rayner's, so the overall financial burden will have substantially exceeded the headline £35 that was reported. Still well short of harsh but roughly in line with other cases where the careless driving caused no injury/damage.
The real question is not then the leniency of the bench but how it is that the prosecution accepted a plea on the basis that Bhamra's careless driving had caused no significant harm. Apparently the CPS took the view that they could not prove that Bhamra's carelessness had caused the original impact but merely that continuing on for a distance of 90 metres with Mr Ridgway on his bonnet, colliding with signs and eventually a tree was careless driving. They also decided that they could not prove that this 'proveable' carelessness, as distinct from the original collision, had caused Mr Ridgway's death.
Making every allowance for the fact that the details of the original collision did not come out in court and were not therefore reported upon, with the consequence that very little is in the public domain, the CPS charging decision does seem lame. In the absence of any striking explanation, a passing car should not collide with a cyclist. This is on the face of it indicative of a lack of due care. Had the original collision been due to Bhamra's lack of due care, then it could hardly be disputed that that collision caused Mr Ridgway's death. Even if a conviction of causing death by careless driving was not a certainty it seems to me unfortunate that the facts were not brought before a Court to determine.
Hopefully there will be a rigorously conducted Inquest to explore how the original collision occurred.
COMMENT FROM TOM'S FAMILY
Tom's aunt has been in contact and comments as follows:
Category Article Cycling
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