Ian Bridge represented elderly driver charged with causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving.

Mr Bridge instructed by Sewli Kuddus of Horwich Farrelly submitted in mitigation to HHJ Crowther at Cardiff Crown Court, the Defendant having pleaded guilty, that the pedal misapplication which led to this tragedy was a momentary error with low culpability.

Despite the objectively dangerous driving the court suspended the sentence rejecting the prosecution contention that the case fell into the middle bracket within the sentencing guideline. It was agreed by the parties that the dangerous driving was the result of a loss of control and confusion when unexpectedly the vehicle accelerated. The driver believed he had pressed the brake when mistakenly he pressed the throttle. He pressed harder, in continued effort to slow, only bringing about greater acceleration. It is noteworthy that the case was prosecuted as dangerous driving based on the objective standard of driving and despite the careless state of mind of the Defendant. The driving which followed the careless error was clearly objectively dangerous, however the Defendant was not consciously driving in a manner which brought about risk after his initial mistake.

The current sentencing guideline does not clearly acknowledge that objectively dangerous driving can result from mistake when in all other respects a driver is driving lawfully.

On passing sentence the Judge at Cardiff Crown court stated “ that assessment of culpability amounts  to the assessment of pressing a wrong control that is on the face of it a genuine mistake or an error and an  entirely different scenario to those  that take active choices to drive in  a certain  way  to take chances or risks or drive whilst unfit.”