Judge: Law criminalises accidents

A judge has accused Parliament of trying to legislate against accidents during the trial of a lorry driver accused of killing a pedestrian by dangerous driving.

At Blackfriars Crown Court, Judge Henry Blacksell QC said Lucy Pontecorvo, 64, broke the Highway Code, and died after dodging traffic and stopping in the the middle of Holloway Road, north London.

She was pushing her bike and stepped from behind a green wheelie bin onto the road in front of a stationary lorry, which was waiting in rush hour traffic in the evening of September 8 2008, the court heard.

Miss Pontecorvo was crushed under the vehicle's front wheel when it slowly moved forward, and died from multiple injuries at the scene. Police described driver Lucian Damascus as shocked and shaking when they arrived.

Jurors found Mr Damascus not guilty of causing death by dangerous driving, but the judge said he had considered stopping the trial altogether due to doubts about the law.

During legal argument unheard by the jury, Judge Blacksell said: "Parliament has now passed legislation whereby it tries to deny the fact that accidents do happen.

"Should you be prosecuting a lorry driver for death by careless driving because the pedestrian didn't know (the Highway Code)?"

He went on: "I've anxiously considered this case and whether I should stop it with all conscience, but I'm not going to stop it at this stage. I don't think I'm going to intervene because it's for the jury to consider, properly directed.

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