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Causing Death By Dangerous Driving: A Case Study



Causing Death by Dangerous Driving: A Case Study


We concluded a case earlier this year where we had been working with the client for almost two years.


In the Autumn of 2014 we received a call from a man who simply could not comprehend the situation he was in.  Carl had been involved in a Road Traffic Collision on a busy motorway in the North West which had very sadly resulted in the death of another motorist, and a scene of utter carnage on the roads that closed the motorway for more than six hours during a Monday morning rush hour.


Carl was driving to meet with a client and was thinking about the day ahead.  He received a call on his mobile from the office via the built in Bluetooth facility in his car, he pressed a button on the steering wheel and answered the call.  It lasted less than two minutes.


He was in no hurry, traffic was heavy but flowing, and he was not speeding. 


A few minutes later he received another call from his office and again answered and took the call via the built in Bluetooth.  The call ended within 90 seconds and he continued his journey.


Nothing wrong here, you might think?  His phone was properly connected and he didn’t take his eyes off the road whilst engaging in the conversations.  He hadn’t even touched his phone so no offence committed.


You might think, that this could be any businessman on any motorway on any Monday morning.  It could be you, right?


What happened next changed the lives of so many people forever.


Carl was driving along in the outside lane, overtaking a vehicle to his left.  He heard his tyres cross the rumble strip on the edge of the central reservation and steered slightly to the left to correct it.  However, he over corrected and at that speed it sent him into a spin which he could not recover from.  He hit the car to his left which also spun off the road, causing a domino effect which lasted less than 4 seconds but resulted in a pile up involving 7 vehicles in total.


And one person was killed.  An innocent motorist; a woman on her way to visit her daughter, lost her life because of the collision.


What do you think then?  Accident?  Carl wasn’t on the phone, he wasn’t speeding, there was no reason he should have spun out of control but he did – an unfortunate, sorry, awful, indescribable accident, right?


Wrong.  Carl was convicted of causing Death by Dangerous Driving and was sentenced to 4 years in prison.


What?  Why??  How can a regular, good person be convicted of causing death by dangerous driving?


Because when the Police investigated, they discovered that Carl had received two phone calls in the minutes leading up to the collision.  Records proved that he wasn’t on the phone at the time of the impact but the Prosecution suggested – and the Jury agreed – that people don’t just lose control of their cars for no reason.  In the absence of a mechanical defect, medical or other emergency, or any explanation for the loss of concentration, then the Jury were left to make an inference about what he was doing at the precise moment he lost control of the car.  The inference they made was that it was reasonable to think that as he had been engaged in phone calls leading up to the collision, he could have been in the process of making or receiving another call causing him to lose control.


He was in the outside lane of a busy Motorway during rush hour, they said, he should have been concentrating.


He was found guilty of causing Death by Dangerous Driving by a unanimous verdict in 27 minutes by a Jury who were unequivocal in their decision.


He should have been concentrating, and he wasn’t (for whatever reason) and that is Dangerous Driving.  Not Careless Driving, but Dangerous Driving – a standard of driving that falls FAR below the standard expected and carries a maximum custodial sentence of 14 years.


Carl is now in prison, 120 miles away from his pregnant wife and 3 year old daughter.


A wife, mother and devoted Grandmother is dead because of his actions.


Two families destroyed.


And countless other drivers that morning who were involved in or saw what happened and will live with those memories forever.


Carl is a 41 year old successful businessman, top salesman in his company for the past 8 years very highly thought of.  He holds a pilot licence, he runs marathons for charity, he is respected and loved by many people.


But he is in prison now.


Carl spent more than 18 months on police bail while this was investigated.  He always accepted the part he played in the incident and accepts he must be punished.  He was determined to plead not guilty for the sake of his family; if he could somehow avoid going to prison and missing years of his children’s lives, he had to try.  He knew the odds were not in his favour, but he also knew we would fight as hard as anyone could for him.  He suffered physical, psychological and emotional injuries and had to take two months off work with PTSD. 


We were there for Carl from Day 1, we literally held his hand and supported his whole family through this.  We all knew it was very likely he would have to serve a custodial sentence, and he told us after the sentencing that he could not have got through the whole thing without us, and even in his darkest moments he felt safe in the knowledge that his dedicated legal team were right behind him, every step of the way. 


Carl was a reminder to us all how quickly lives can change.  Carl didn’t stop being a good man on that fateful day, and it was our pleasure to work with him and support him through this case. 


If you are being charged with causing death by dangerous driving and need a legal team who will treat you with understanding and not judgement, call our dedicated team now on 01623 397200.


My Missing Brother Had Been Sent to Prison!


Julia Coffin of Forrest Williams

Julia Coffin of Forrest Williams


We had an interesting case recently.  A woman called us, concerned that she hadn’t heard from her brother Robert for over a week and couldn’t seem to contact him.  A visit to his home address led to a neighbour telling her that he had been arrested about four days earlier and she had not seen him since.


Clearly this worried Amelia as she didn’t even know where to start looking for her brother.  She rang the local police station but they wouldn’t tell her anything. Not knowing what to do next she called us to see if we could help.


We were straight on the case, making enquiries with the local police.  They could tell us that whilst he had been arrested he was no longer in their custody.  We contacted the local magistrates court to see if there had been a hearing and finally our investigations led us to discovering that Robert was being held on remand in a local prison.  He had been arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated assault and remanded in custody as the victim was living 3 doors away on the same street and he couldn’t provide a suitable address to be bailed to.


Relying on mobile phones, as we all do these days, he had not committed any phone numbers to memory and was therefore unable to ring anyone from prison to let them know his whereabouts.


We arranged a prison visit and discovered that not only was he as pleased to see us as we were to find him – he was also very clear that he was innocent of the allegations that had been made against him and very scared to be in prison.


We were able to secure a hearing within 2 days at which we made a bail application and he was released to the address of a family member in the next town.


We obtained the evidence from the CPS and were able to view the CCTV provided.  We could not find anything to determine that it was our client that had committed the offence and prepared a trial on that basis.  The CCTV showed an altercation but there was no sound, and there was no evidence of assault on the footage.


Our client was acquitted at trial, and Amelia contacted us afterwards to tell us that she had felt so frightened and alone, and didn’t know what to do, but once she had found us everything started to move forward and she was so grateful for our support, as was her brother. 


If you or a loved one need help for a criminal offence, call our expert team now on 01623 397200.


Fraud by False Representation

fraud by false representation

Fraud by False Representation


Do you need a fraud by false representation solicitor?


Forrest Williams can help.


We are specialists in this area and will prepare your case and support you without judgement.


When you see that somebody has been charged with Fraud, you think of a middle class man, probably a member of a high organisation who has been swindling the books to buy his second home in The Bahamas.


And as for Making off without payment, you envisage a young male speeding off in his modified Vauxhall Corsa from a petrol station after just filling up his tank, trying to get away without paying.


This was simply not the case for Steve.


Steve was a respectable man, who had always worked hard for his money, and had never been in trouble with the law before. Steve had a successful career which would be ruined if he was convicted of offences like these.


Steve was charged with Fraud by False Representation and Making off without payment.


Steve needed our help.


We quickly realised that there was much more to the story then just these two charges.


Steve was doing work for a company up North which in the end lasted almost a year. Steve decided that it would be easier just to move up there and stay in a B&B whilst the work was ongoing, rather than travelling up and down from home each week.


Steve had very good relations with the B&B manager and so payments were made on a very ad-hoc basis.


The Manager gave Steve partially completed receipts and told him to fill in the dates and the amounts when he paid them.  As these receipts were just for Steve’s records there was no issue with this at the time.


This was all fine until the manager started requesting large payments in advance to cover his own personal expenses such as Speeding Tickets, Tax bills etc.


The payments became very messy, and Steve suddenly found himself not knowing how much he was supposed to pay for his room.


As Steve was busy with work, he told the Manager of the B&B that there was a problem with his expenses and so he could not make these payments at the required times.


Steve’s plan was to try and sort out his finances and then he could go to the manager and tell him exactly what he owed and how it would be paid.


Unfortunately this didn’t happen. The matter quickly escalated and so Steve agreed to make three payments of £800 each, which would clear the balance.


He paid the first amount in full, on the date agreed. But then due to personal circumstances he had  to go back home and had to leave the B&B.


Steve left a cheque for the second payment in his room with his key and then left, telling the Manager that he would make the final payment on the date that was agreed previously.


The Manager claimed that he did not get this cheque or the message about the future payment and so contacted the police and Steve was charged with Making off without payment.


Steve contacted the Police and showed them the receipts that he had been given by the Manager and implied that this would show that he did not owe any more money to the B&B.


The Police found out that this was not the case, and so Steve was consequently charged with Fraud by False Representation.


Steve appointed us and told us he wished to plead Not Guilty on the basis that he didn’t leave without payment, he had left a cheque and had a payment plan set up; and that he didn’t intentionally try to mislead the police with these receipts, these were genuine receipts filled out for the amounts he had paid and it was a mistake that he regretted implying to the police that they were otherwise.


Steve asked us to prepare his trial, and arrange for him to be represented at the trial by a Specialist Fraud Barrister.


We appointed one of our Specialist Fraud Barristers, and started making preparations for the trial.


We requested the full file of evidence from the prosecution, took a full statement from Steve, and any papers/ documents that Steve had relating to the matter.


Once we had all of this we reviewed the case, and explained to Steve that there is a chance we could get the case dropped if we could liaise with the Prosecution and most importantly if he could repay the amount of money that was still owed to the B&B.


Steve quickly agreed.  This would mean that he would avoid being convicted of Fraud by False Representation, and Making off without payment, and he would avoid the stress and fees of taking the matter to a Crown Court trial.


We began immediately speaking with the Senior Prosecutor who was overseeing this case, and persuaded him that if Steve could repay the money, then the case would no longer be in the public interest to continue.


Between our liaisons with the Senior Prosecutor and our specialist fraud barrister, we had managed to get the Prosecution to agree to withdraw both charges of Fraud by False Representation and Making off without payment, if the fees for the B&B were repaid.  


Steve promptly paid the money owed into our client account where we transferred it over to the B&B. 


Nottingham Crown Court listed the matter for a Pre-Trial Review, where the Crown Prosecution Service formally requested that Not Guilty Verdicts were entered.


Steve was so relieved with this result. He had instructed us to prepare his case for trial. What we had managed to do instead was have him found Not Guilty of both charges without the need for a trial hearing.


Steve made the follow comments after his hearing;


“I should first thank you guys for providing me with superb representation – you obviously know your stuff!  But what impressed me was the way in which you made me feel at ease throughout what is a very stressful time for me.  I really can’t thank you enough for that and for guiding me through the whole process on the day.”


If you need help for fraud by false representation, call our expert team now on 01623 397200.



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