Previously banned driver no longer facing 'death' charge in fatal accident case (From The Northern Echo)
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Previously banned driver no longer facing 'death' charge in case of fatal accident near Durham
A PREVIOUSLY banned driver who was involved in a fatal collision is no longer facing a charge of causing death by driving while disqualified.
David Bate has had the charge hanging over him for more than three years awaiting a ruling on a similar case at the Court of Appeal.
He was disqualified from driving at the time of the accident, on the A181 at Running Waters, near Durham, on November 20, 2009.
The lorry he was driving was in collision with a Renault Kangoo van, driven by Ross Mitchell Paterson, near the Three Horse Shoes pub.
Thirty-year-old Mr Paterson, from Glasgow, died ten days later in Newcastle General Hospital from injuries suffered in the crash.
It emerged Bate used a false LGV (large goods vehicle) licence to enable him to drive for a van and truck hire business, based in Hetton-le-Hole.
But it was accepted he was not responsible for the accident, as Mr Mitchell was overtaking three vehicles when the collision took place.
Stuart Graham, prosecuting, told Durham Crown Court it also appeared that Bate tried to veer to the road side to avoid a collision with the oncoming van.
Despite this, he was charged with causing death by driving while disqualified, as well as using a false driving licence, fraud by making false representation to the van and truck hire business he was working for, and driving without insurance.
He admitted the charges, but sentence was delayed due to a Court of Appeal referral of a similar case, from Newcastle Crown Court.
Mr Graham said the Supreme Court recently passed a judgement in that case, referred from the Court of Appeal, that causing death by driving while disqualified can only apply where there is, “some degree of causation from bad driving”.
“If Mr Bate had been speeding, which he wasn’t, then it would have contributed to the accident.
“The Crown has obviously thought very carefully about this, given the serious implications to the family and the tragedy with the deceased in this case.
“But the Crown’s case is if the defence apply to vacate the plea to that charge, the Crown wouldn’t object.”
He said the charge would be replaced by a simple one of driving while disqualified.
Jamie Adams, for Bate, said that was the course the defence would adopt.
“The charge, as it was, was totally illogical, that the mere fact of being disqualified could cause death.”
Recorder Ian Atherton adjourned sentence of the remaining charges for an up-dated probation report on Bate as well as to allow Mr Paterson's family to be notified of events and to be given the chance to attend the next hearing.
He bailed 42-year-old Bate, now a qualified driver, of Dene View Crescent, South Hylton, Sunderland, to return for sentence on October 4.
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