At around 20:40hrs on Christmas Day 2022, Mr G was driving his car in darkness on the A14 in Suffolk returning home from a family meal. He was travelling in lane 2 of the 3-lane westbound carriageway when he suddenly came across (and drove over) an object lying in the road. He stopped his vehicle and checked it for damage thinking that he may have hit an animal. Having found no visible damage to his car, Mr G continued on his journey home.

Unbeknown to Mr G, prior to his arrival on the scene, two pedestrians had attempted to cross the carriageway from South to North. One of them had jumped over the central reservation and attempted to cross the eastbound carriageway but in doing so he was hit by a passing vehicle and thrown back into lane 2 of the westbound carriageway. It was there that Mr G’s vehicle came across him lying in the road although a later postmortem established that the pedestrian had in all likelihood been killed before being run over by Mr G’s vehicle.

The police located Mr G’s vehicle and he accepted in interview that he had been driving at the time of the collision. Mr G was charged by the police with offences of (1) fail to stop; and (2) fail to report both contrary to section 170(4) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and Schedule 2 to the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.

Chris Hopkins represented Mr G at his first hearing instructed by Sewli Kuddus at Horwich Farrelly Solicitors. Written representations were sent to the CPS afterwards to the effect that, for the section 170(4) offences to be made out, the prosecution had to establish some direct causal connection between the offending driver’s vehicle and the happening of the accident.[1] Given the findings of the post-mortem in Mr G’s case, it was clear that the fatal accident had already occurred before he had arrived on the scene so the prosecution could not prove the necessary causation for either offence (fail to stop or report).

A full review of the prosecution was requested by Sewli Kuddus following which the CPS wrote to Mr G discontinuing the prosecution on the basis there was not enough evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction for either offence.

[1] See Quelch v Phipps [1955] 2 QB 107