Police officer in court over crash

A police officer charged with causing grievous bodily harm to a motorcyclist by driving without due care and attention after his car and a bike crashed appeared at Supreme Court yesterday.

Joel Cassidy told the court that he saw a motorbike hit the passenger side of Inspector Barry Richards’s car and fly into the air.

Mr Cassidy, a tour driver and horticulturalist, feared the motorcyclist was dead.

He said: “He was unconscious. He was not breathing. He didn’t have much blood coming out of his mouth — there was a little bit, but he wasn’t gurgling or anything like that.

“I felt for a pulse in his temple, his neck, his hand. At that point I thought he had passed.

“There was no response. No nothing.”

Mr Richards, 50, has denied causing grievous bodily harm to Oronde Wilson by driving without due care and attention on September 19, 2017.

Mr Cassidy told the court that on the afternoon of the crash he was driving tourists on a tour around the island in a minibus.

He said he was driving west on North Shore Road, singing to his passengers, when he saw two motorcycles overtake him at high speed.

Mr Cassidy added: “I looked in my rear-view mirror expecting that someone was chasing them, but no one was there.”

He told the court he came around a corner seconds later and saw a car going across the westbound lane as if to enter My Lord’s Bay Road.

Mr Cassidy said: “When I came around the corner, the car was well committed. He was already in the middle of the road.” He added that one of the motorcycles that had overtaken him was able to pass behind the car, but the other hit the vehicle and flew into the air.

Mr Cassidy said he used his minibus to block the road and went to help the injured rider.

He told the court he later left the injured man with a woman passer-by who was on the phone with emergency operators.

Mr Cassidy said he approached the driver of the car, which was stationary in a field about 75 metres away.

He said the driver, who he identified as Mr Richards, was conscious but holding his side.

He also noticed a police radio in the car. Mr Cassidy said he returned to his passengers to apologise for the incident and noticed the motorcycle rider was bleeding heavily from the mouth.

He added: “Blood was coming from deep inside his body. It was a dark, dark red. It wasn’t mouth blood.”

Dale Fox told the court he was the motorcycle rider that steered around the back of Mr Richards’s car.

He said he was driving west along North Shore Road when he saw a second motorcycle pull into the road from Lime House Lane.

Mr Fox and the other rider continued west about a half-bike length apart, with a minibus in front of them.

He told the court: “We stayed behind the bus for a while. It was doing a tour, so, to me, it was going slow.

“We remained behind it until we were near Clearwater Guest House and we proceeded to overtake the bus. The road was clear.”

Mr Fox said he and the other rider were travelling at “no more than 60km/h” when he saw a car pull into their lane.

He said: “We were just riding along and suddenly from the left-hand side coming into our path was a vehicle. I proceeded to go around the back of the vehicle. I observed the rider of the other bike go into the air.”

Mr Fox said he rode a short distance farther and stopped.

He added that the car had driven on to a field and stopped feet away from a hedge that separated the field from another property.

He ran to Mr Richards to check on him.

Mr Fox said: “He was in shock. He asked me what happened. He told me to go and make sure the other guy was OK.”

Prosecutor Kenlyn Swan told the court the Crown would prove Mr Richards was on the phone at the time of the collision and had driven without due care and attention.

Ms Swan said: “The complainant was riding his motorcycle west. The defendant was driving east in his grey motor car, travelling behind a very large coaster bus.

“We say the defendant was distracted. He was on his mobile phone. He didn’t have a clear line of sight.

“Although you may hear evidence that the complainant was travelling in excess of the speed limit, we say that it’s because of the defendant being distracted on his mobile phone, in a rush and failing to keep proper care and attention.

“Failing to have a clear line of sight, he drove into the lane with oncoming traffic, causing the collision.”

The trial continues.

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding court cases. As we are legally liable for any libellous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

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