Sunderland lorry driver walks free after second jury fails to reach verdict over cyclist’s death

Paul Dove
Paul Dove
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A SUNDERLAND lorry driver accused of killing a cyclist has walked free from court.

Paul Dove, 55, admitted he was the driver of the Mercedes articulated lorry which ran into the back of a bicycle ridden by Christopher Griffiths on the A19, but he denied causing death by careless driving.

Yesterday, a jury at Teesside Crown Court was discharged from giving a verdict after deliberating for more than seven hours.

It was the second time this year a trial into the death ended without a verdict, meaning two juries have spent more than 13 hours deliberating on the case without reaching a conclusion.

Both juries heard that Mr Griffiths, 50, of Wynyard, was cycling in the nearside margin of the A19 near Billingham when he was struck from behind by Mr Dove’s lorry at about 7am on January 23 last year.

Other drivers who passed Mr Griffiths safely said he either had no rear light, or the rear light was dim.

Each of the drivers said they thought cycling on that stretch of the road was dangerous, but the court heard cyclists are allowed on the A19. Mr Dove, of Aldwych Square, Farringdon, insisted throughout both trials that his lorry was between the white lines in lane one at all times and he couldn’t explain how he had hit the cyclist if the bicycle was in the margin of the road.

Prosecutor Paul Cleasby told the court there would not be a third trial, and the Crown would not be offering any further evidence.

He said: “There is no possibility of improving on the evidence. Two juries have now deliberated long and hard on this case.

“There is no realistic prospect a third jury would find it any easier to decide.”

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton recorded a formal not guilty verdict on behalf of Mr Dove.

He said: “I agree with the Crown’s decision. There comes a time when there has to be a reality check.

“There can be absolutely no criticism of either jury. It is clear they have paid close attention to this case. Sometimes these things happen.”