Smith & Anor v. Harris (Cayman Islands )  UKPC 48 (30 October 2006)
Privy Council Appeal No 24 of 2005
(1) Egbert Smith
(2) Quarry Products Appellants
Julie Nicole Harris Respondent
THE COURT OF APPEAL OF
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JUDGMENT OF THE LORDS OF THE JUDICIAL
COMMITTEE OF THE PRIVY COUNCIL
Delivered the 30th October 2006
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Present at the hearing:-
Lord Bingham of Cornhill
Lord Rodger of Earlsferry
Baroness Hale of Richmond
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[Delivered by Lord Carswell]
"The next thing I recall is the car which I now know to have been driven by Egbert Smith and which was just in front and to the offside (passenger side) of my vehicle, driving into my lane and making contact with my vehicle. I recall seeing his vehicle moving into my lane and into collision with my vehicle, and I reacted by attempting to avoid his vehicle and steered to my left away from Egbert Smith's vehicle."
She applied her brakes but could not avoid colliding with the pedestrians.
"I saw white vehicle behind me in my lane. Pulled out suddenly without signalling into South side lane. I saw a blue car swerve to avoid hitting the white vehicle."
She heard but did not see the collision between the respondent's car and Mr Smith's car. She did see the blue car going off the road and a person in the air over the hood of that vehicle.
"I am satisfied the evidence demonstrates it was more likely than not that the Escort crossed the line between the lanes into the path of the Sunfire. Both Ms. Harris and Ms. Ebanks-Oyog testified they saw this happen. I accept their evidence on this point as the only plausible evidence which explains the cause of the collision.
The theory of Mr. Smith's case, that the Sunfire drifted two or three feet to the right across the line dividing the lanes and sideswiped the Escort stopped in the middle of the 16 foot wide George Town lane I find improbable for the following reasons.
First, having just turned left into the South Sound lane, there was no reason for Ms. Harris to cause the Sunfire to move right towards the line of stopped cars she had just moved to avoid. Second, because the collision damage was scrapping [sic] along the length of both cars they were essentially parallel when they met. On a parallel course two or three feet inside the George Town lane it is unlikely the Sunfire could have avoided contact with other cars bumper to bumper with and ahead of and behind the Escort.
Mr Phillipson's testimony was helpful in explaining how the two vehicles collided to create the observed damage, but did not satisfy me there was a basis for extrapolating from how they collided precisely where they collided or why.
Viewed most favourably from the point of view of Mr. Smith, Mr. Phillipson's evidence establishes that the damage to the vehicles shows they collided instantaneously on essentially parallel courses while the Escort stopped.
While this is consistent with Mr. Smith's and Ms. Dixon's testimony that the Escort did not move, it does not disprove the possibility that the Escort pulled left into the South Sound lane and was struck a glancing blow by the Sunfire as Ms. Harris veered left trying to avoid a collision, while both vehicles were parallel to each other but heading left in relation to the alignment of the road way. I did not find Mr. Phillipson's testimony in which he tried to refute this possibility persuasive."
He went on to hold that the physical evidence of damage to the vehicles provided no sound basis for extrapolating where the collision occurred so as to rule out the possibility that it occurred in the South Sound lane.
"The trial judge heard and saw the witnesses for the appellant and the respondent. He rejected the evidence of the appellant and his witnesses. He accepted the evidence of the respondent and her witnesses and held that the physical evidence was not inconsistent with the version of these eyewitnesses.
In our view it cannot be said that the judge was in error in coming to this conclusion."