Pensioner cleared of death by dangerous driving after car is blamed

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A great-grandmother has been cleared of killing a pedestrian after claims of a fault with her vehicle.

Mrs Ann Diggles, a retired nurse from Leyland, was accused of causing death by dangerous driving after her Nissan Qashqai struck and killed Mrs Julie Dean.

The prosecution alleged that Mrs Diggles was to blame for the tragic accident after her car lurched forward, mounted the pavement and struck Mrs Dean, who had just come out of a charity shop in Leyland town centre.

The case was of particular interest to road traffic solicitors due to the defendant’s insistence that the car had shot forward of its own accord and ‘just wouldn’t stop’.

The traffic office lawyer defending Mrs Diggle asserted that the car’s electronic throttle had malfunctioned due to an undercharged battery.

Keeping a driving licence

Prosecution claims that she had accidentally pressed the accelerator rather than the brake were denied by Mrs Diggle, despite the fact no technical fault was found with the car.

An industry expert from Japan also strengthened the prosecution’s case, asserting that Mrs Diggle’s claims were an impossibility.

It wasn’t until two members of the public came forward independently to talk about their own experiences of the same problem, that Mrs Diggle’s defence seemed more worthy.

The two drivers had read reports of her trial – and their accounts, along with expert witness testimony, helped to strengthen the case for the defence.

Ultimately, despite there being no evidence of a technical fault, it was confirmed that it was possible for vehicles to have episodes of ‘uncommanded acceleration’.

Our criminal litigation specialist, David Lawson, highlighted why the case’s uncommon outcome was worthy of attention, commenting:

‘This was an unusual case, as normally any road traffic solicitor defending such a case would be seeking to show that the car was suffering from a mechanical defect.

‘The fact that this didn’t happen but it was still conceded that vehicles can sometimes accelerate unexpectedly is especially interesting to traffic office lawyers and other legal professionals.’

Cases like this demonstrate that alleged driving offences aren’t always as they appear and understanding your options is key to reaching the best outcome.

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