A lorry driver who pleaded not guilty after being caught by West Midlands Police’s close pass initiative has expressed confusion that he was subsequently found guilty. Dean Littleford claims that the video footage used to convict him proves his innocence.
Littleford was convicted of driving without due care and attention after being caught on camera squeezing past a cyclist on Tipton’s Park Lane West last November, becoming the first court conviction for West Midlands Police’s lauded close-pass initiative.
He was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £1,038 and given five points on his licence, but still doesn’t seem to accept that he was at fault.
Speaking to who else but The Daily Mail, he said that when he first found the video online, “I thought it was as clear as day to me. I had left more than enough gap.”
After receiving a court summons, Littleford had initially been willing to pay the £100 fine and accept the three points on his licence as he 'couldn't remember the incident well enough' – but after seeing the video, he changed his mind.
“He came up the side of me. He accelerated in my opinion. I thought it was a clear cut case and I wasn't going to accept the fine.”
Speaking about his appearance in court, he said: “How many people just accept the three points and a £100 fine? I imagine a lot of people do. Maybe I should have, but I just thought I was innocent.
“I thought I didn't need a solicitor. I explained to the magistrates what happened and they looked at the video. The case was only ten or 15 minutes long and then they said I was guilty. Well it was amazing, astonishing. I don't think they were really that interested.”
PC Mark Hodson from West Midlands Police’s Central Motorway Police Group commented:
“Most offenders watch the footage, accept their driving was below par, and elect for a driver improvement course or an offer of three licence points and £100.
“This was a clear case of a close pass. The cyclist was nearly forced into the kerb and the actions of the truck driver could easily have caused a very serious collision. He maintained his innocence, though, and has now been convicted in court.”