Jury to decide over death crash involving Sunderland lorry driver

Paul Dove
Paul Dove
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A JURY in the trial of a Sunderland lorry driver accused of killing a cyclist on the A19 is expected to retire to consider its verdict early next week.

Paul Dove admits he was the driver of the Mercedes articulated lorry which ran into the back of Christopher Griffiths as he cycled in the nearside margin of the road’s southbound carriageway, near Billingham.

Dove, 55, of Aldwych Square, Farringdon, denies causing the death of Mr Griffiths, 50, by careless driving.

In his closing speech to the jury, prosecutor Paul Cleasby said a competent and careful driver would have missed Mr Griffiths.

“Many drivers did pass him safely that morning,” added Mr Cleasby.

“It was dark, but even if a driver did not see the cyclist, no collision should have happened because the cyclist was in the margin, and a competent driver would have been between the lane’s white lines.

“We have heard evidence the van immediately in front of Mr Dove passed the cyclist without deviating.

“It seems a matter of common sense the cyclist must still have been in the margin when the collision happened a second or two later.”

Dove insisted throughout the five days of the trial that he had never crossed the nearside rumble strip.

Stuart Driver, QC, defending, told the jury: “You may feel either the cyclist deviated to the right into the carriageway, or Mr Dove’s lorry crossed the rumble strip to the left.

“It is important to try the case on the evidence.

“Mr Dove does not have to prove a thing, and there is no evidence he crossed the white line, none at all.

“Speculation that he might or could have crossed the line is nowhere near the high standard of proof required for a conviction.

“Mr Dove is a decent, honest, hard-working man.

“You can believe him when he says he did not cross the white line.

“What we have here is an accident, not a crime.”

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton told the jury they would not be sitting on the case on Monday.

“I expect to complete my summing up to you by about 11.30am on Tuesday,” said the judge. “You will then retire to consider your verdict.”