QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
B e f o r e :
|THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF GARY BINGHAM||(CLAIMANT)|
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MR D BRADSHAW (instructed by CPS, Hull HU1 1RS) appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT
Crown Copyright ©
"(a) The appellant, Gary Bingham, was the driver of a motor lorry . . . on a journey from South Cave towards Sancton along the A1034 on 14 June 2000.
"(b) The motor lorry was observed to be driving normally until there came a point at a right-hand bend when the rear of the motor lorry swung first in an anti-clockwise direction then clockwise into the path of an oncoming articulated heavy goods vehicle."
I interpose at this stage that there is no error in that finding of fact. The surprising feature of this case is that the initial loss of control was by a lorry driving around a right-hand bend whose rear end moves to its right contrary to what one would normally expect, as all witnesses agree. Reverting to the facts as found:
"(c) There was no evidence of any mechanical defect to the lorry that would be likely to affect its performance.
"(d) There was no real evidence of any standing water, detritus or contaminants on the road surface that would be likely to affect the motor lorry's performance.
"(e) There was no real evidence as to why the rear of the vehicle swung in the anti-clockwise movement.
"(f) The appellant accepted that to apply the brakes after the ant-clockwise movement would 'make matters worse'.
"(g) There was expert analysis of the motor lorry's tachograph which showed that 'immediately prior to impact the vehicle began to decelerate, probably due to heavy braking, causing the wheels to lock'.
"(h) We found that the brakes were applied and that this was not the action of a reasonable, prudent and competent driver."
"He also failed to give effect to those authorities which establish that a defendant placed in a position of peril and emergency must not be judged by too critical a standard when he acts on the spur of the moment to avoid an accident."
"He did what any careful driver would instinctively have done in the circumstances and we are satisfied that he acted with the alertness, skill and judgment which could reasonably have been expected even if he did react slightly more than he should have done, slightly more than was strictly necessary. We are not satisfied that the lesser reaction would not have produced much the same result."
This approach, said Lord Griffiths, by the Court of Appeal to the facts of this case cannot be faulted.