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18 June, 2024
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Fatal accident detail gets sentence reduced

Supreme Court draws distinction between dangerous driving and causing death by reckless driving


An overlooked detail caught the attention of the Supreme Court during the appeal of a sentence, whereby a driver of a fuel tanker was initially found guilty of causing the death of a woman by dangerous or reckless driving.

Last week, the Supreme Court overturned a decision by a lower court in a case of a road fatality, when a fuel tanker in 2013 struck a pedestrian who was trying to cross the street in Nicosia.

According to the facts in the case, a fuel tanker was idle at a red light in Strovolos, in the left lane, about at least 1.90m behind a pedestrian crossing that was connected to the junction. As soon as the light turned green, the male driver moved forward while another woman waiting at the crossing also attempted to cross the street.

Due to blind spots, according to the case, the woman’s reaction and attempt to make her presence known -along with other drivers who were sounding their car horns- went unnoticed by the driver, who continued forward, running over the woman who died instantly.

The woman did not look to her right as she moved forward at the same time as the fuel tanker was also moving forward

The following year, the lower court found the driver guilty of causing the death of the female pedestrian by dangerous or reckless driving.

According to the initial ruling, the driver had failed to notice the woman who was standing next to the traffic light forward and to the left of the fuel tanker at a distance at least 1.90m. The judge specifically found that the driver had an unobstructed view at the time the pedestrian entered the crossing, making his driving dangerous and reckless.

But after the driver filed an appeal, the Supreme Court found that while he was guilty of committing an offence based on dangerous driving, he was not guilty of causing death by dangerous or reckless driving.

“Taking into consideration the short distance of 1.90m and low speed at which he moved forward, the appellant did so when the green light came on for him, so under those circumstances, we do not find that his driving was reckless,” a judge panel said.

Due to having blind spots at the time of movement, and based on the fact that the woman did not look to her right as she moved forward at the same time with the fuel tanker, the Supreme Court found that the driver was guilty only of dangerous driving but not causing her death.

An initial fine of €3000 and a temporary suspension of his driver’s licence was overturned by the Supreme Court, which reduced the fine to €1000 and suspended his driver’s permit to two months retroactively starting from his initial sentence in April 2018. He also received four penalty points on his current licence, down from eight points that he got during his sentencing.

Cyprus  |  Nicosia  |  Strovolos  |  road accident  |  fatality  |  supreme court  |  dangerous  |  reckless  |  driving  |  fuel tanker  |  pedestrian  |  traffic light  |  crossing

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