Driver worked and drove all night before fatal collision with cyclist

Community service order, fine and driving ban the penalty for killing a cyclist

by Mark Appleton   October 20, 2010  

bristol city centre.jpg

A van driver who had been working and driving for the 13 hours before he was involved in an accident which killed a cyclist, has received a community service order, a fine and a driving ban the Bristol Evening Post reports.

Bristol Crown Court was told that Benjamin Stallard failed to see Dr Steven Morris when he joined the A370 by the city's Ashton Gate underpass in August last year. 

The court heard that Stallard “clipped” Dr Steven Morris, a 52-year old university professor and father of three. Dr Morris died 12 hours later, having sustained unsurvivable head injuries, despite wearing a helmet. According to prosecution evidence Stallard would have had up to 5 seconds to see Dr Morris before hitting him.

Stallard, who has previous convictions for speeding and driving whilst using a mobile phone, claimed that despite working and driving overnight he was neither tired nor distracted at the time of the accident, 7.15am. However, he admitted causing death by careless driving.

Sentencing Judge Neil Ford QC imposed a two-year community order, involving 200 hours of unpaid work, £350 costs and a two-year driving ban.

The judge told him: "There is no evidence of excessive speed or of aggressive or impaired driving. You failed to notice a cyclist when emerging from a difficult junction.”

"The case involves a vulnerable road user and motorists have an obligation to take particular care to look for cyclists and motorcyclists."
 

11 user comments

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Quote:
motorists have an obligation to take particular care to look for cyclists and motorcyclists

not that much obligation though, eh Plain Face

cactuscat's picture

posted by cactuscat [303 posts]
20th October 2010 - 10:50

9 Likes

No evidence of impaired driving, except that an innocent third party is now dead.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7506 posts]
20th October 2010 - 10:52

9 Likes

Five seconds does seem like a long time not to see somone in this situation

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4160 posts]
20th October 2010 - 11:02

6 Likes

tony_farrelly wrote:
Five seconds does seem like a long time not to see somone in this situation

That's exactly what I'm thinking.

I'm also thinking that his wrists have hardly received a slap at all.

posted by Shiny Flu [84 posts]
20th October 2010 - 11:22

8 Likes

He would probably have got a heftier sentence if he'd burgled the poor dead doctor. When is the judiciary in the UK going to wake up?

TiNuts's picture

posted by TiNuts [95 posts]
20th October 2010 - 12:33

10 Likes

Come now. There's no evidence of intent, the victim was only a cyclist, and he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Really, you lot seem to be suggesting that if you drive a motor vehicle you should take actual responsibility for what happens when you're in charge of it!

timlennon's picture

posted by timlennon [229 posts]
20th October 2010 - 14:01

9 Likes

Mind, 20 seconds on t'internet suggests that Neil Ford - the judge involved - doesn't actually think that one should take particular care: he suspended a sentence for a lorry driver who cheated on his eye test and then killed someone: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/nov/02/eye-test-cheat-lorry-driver

timlennon's picture

posted by timlennon [229 posts]
20th October 2010 - 14:04

6 Likes

Let me see... The accused wasn't tired or distracted despite a shift of 12 hours or so. 5 seconds to react. Previous convictions. And all he gets is a slkap on the wrist!

I was always ofthe understanding that to gain a driving licence was an acknowledgment of that individuals ability todrive safely onthe roads... Guessi was wrong!!!

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1068 posts]
20th October 2010 - 16:39

9 Likes

The law is an ass i I seem to have said that before

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2308 posts]
20th October 2010 - 21:24

2 Likes

The judge will probably be judged exemplary at some point and promoted to the House of Lords no doubt.

antonio

antonio's picture

posted by antonio [1018 posts]
21st October 2010 - 15:19

7 Likes

I feel that this is an all too often occurrence and the same feelings of anger pass over me every time we read of cases like this. Lack of responsibility by the driver, a weak sentence and lack of interest by the police and CPS.

I regret to say this but feel it is the only solution. We need a prominent judge, politician or celebrity cyclist to be killed in an horrendous accident by a grossly irresponsible driver in order for Parliament, the CPS and Police to wake up and smell the coffee. Until then, the judiciary will continue to drift along handing out inadequate sentences.

If drivers knew that if they kill a cyclist, they will be punished severely, they might decide to treat us a bit better.

For the record, I hold a driving licence.

posted by londonplayer [671 posts]
27th October 2010 - 18:26

6 Likes