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Driving offences involving death

The main types of driving offences involving fatalities are 'dangerous' driving and 'careless or inconsiderate' driving. The driver's behaviour is what is important, not what the driver believes. Someone may be committing a dangerous driving offence even though they believe they are driving safely.

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CPS Statement on William Hippsley

18/02/2011

Statement from Barbara Petchey, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS Humberside.

"The decision to charge William Hippsley in this case was taken after very careful consideration of both the evidence and the public interest.  This was a difficult and sensitive decision owing to the tragic circumstances in which Mr Hippsley lost his wife.  This case has been subject to extensive review of emerging evidence over a long period of time and today we have offered no evidence on the charge of causing death by careless driving.

"The evidence in this case of poor driving below the acceptable standard was, and remains, sufficient for a realistic prospect of conviction. As our policy on bad driving makes clear, the public interest will normally require that a prosecution takes place where a death has resulted from bad driving. When we reviewed this case originally, we decided it was in the public interest to prosecute this case in order to protect the safety of other road users.

"Mr Hippsley denied responsibility and in his interview with the police referred to reports of concerns about the car. The car was examined by a number of experts and no defects were found, so it was decided the prosecution should go ahead. Mr Hippsleys trial last March was stopped by the judge pending further reports.

"Our decision to stop the case today in no way represents any kind of concession in relation to the evidence but is a decision taken following discussions between the prosecution, defence and the trial judge on whether there was an alternative to prosecution in this case. As a result, Mr Hippsley has now taken and passed a medical examination and an extended driving re-test to meet the required standard of the DVLA.  We are satisfied therefore that our obligation to the public in protecting other road users is met and that a prosecution is no longer required in the public interest."

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