Driver cleared of death by dangerous driving

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A bus driver has been cleared at Crown Court of causing the death of a young motorcyclist in what a judge dubbed “an awful and utterly tragic accident.”

Earlier this week Simon Deakin, of Highfield Avenue, Driffield went on trial at Hull Crown Court accused of causing death by dangerous driving.

The case comes after Mr Deakin’s Vauxhall Agila aquaplaned onto the wrong side of the B1246 near Pocklington on November 8, 2014, colliding with a motorcycle travelling in the opposite direction being ridden by golf club chef, Joseph Baxter aged 22 who died at the scene despite Mr Deakin and another man giving first aid until paramedics arrived.

There was no suggestion Mr Deakin was exceeding the 60mph speed limit, but prosecutors say standing water was visible in the road and he should have reduced his speed accordingly.

Mr Deakin, who was on his way to work at Pocklington bus station, denied the charges and the following day Judge Paul Watson QC directed the jury to find Mr Deakin, 37, not guilty after a defence application that there was no evidence supporting the basis of the prosecution case.

Mr Deakin said he was travelling between 50mph and 55mph, within the 60mph limit, when the crash happened and police crash investigator Alfred Place had previously told the court there was no drainage on the country lane allowing water to escape and heavy rain on the day and in previous days left surrounding fields flooded.

He added he could not say what would have been a safe speed to avoid the collision.

The judge said: “The reality is that there is no basis, in my judgment, to say that this man’s driving fell below the standard of a careful and competent driver.

“It seems to me it was, in the purest sense of the word, an accident – an awful and utterly tragic accident – the consequences of which will be borne by Joe Baxter’s family and friends for the rest of their lives, and the memory of what happened in those few seconds for the defendant.

“There are no winners in this case and no one can put the clock back. I direct you to return a not guilty verdict. The tragedy of this case is a salutary lesson for us all.”

Speaking outside the court on Thursday, Mr Deakin said: “It’s been 15 months of hell, to be honest, and I’m just relieved it’s all over.

“Like the judge said, there’s no winners in this case. I’ve been found not guilty, but, unfortunately, the family’s lost a son. There’s not a day goes by I don’t think about the family.”