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Driver cleared over death of motorcyclist

A truck driver has walked free from court after being cleared of carelessly pulling out in front a young motorcyclist and killing him.

Prosecutors had alleged that George Simmons had cut the corner as he turned in front of Ezariah Matthie moments before the two vehicles collided in Paget in February last year.

But yesterday a jury found unanimously that the 44-year-old electrician was not guilty of causing Mr Matthie’s death by careless driving.

During the trial, Mr Simmons took the stand and repeatedly denied cutting the corner as he turned off Ord Road into Harvey Road in Paget.

He maintained that he had stopped as he approached the junction and looked in all directions to ensure that the road was clear before he began to make the turn.

Mr Simmons told the jury “it all happened so fast” and insisted he had never seen or heard Mr Matthie’s bike coming towards him. He said that he believed that the motorcyclist must have been speeding.

Two road collision experts gave evidence during the trial.

Pc Roger Fox appeared for the prosecution and told jurors that it appeared that the truck driver had made a sudden turn and that Mr Matthie did not have the time to react.

However, Michael Prime, a British road collision expert, questioned the prosecution’s version of events and suggested that Mr Matthie could have been travelling at between 30km/h and 60km/h at the time of the accident. He also stated that it was impossible to know for certain what speed the 21-year-old was going before the crash.

Mr Matthie, who was affectionately known as “Snakes” and “Ezzy”, was on his way home from work when the accident happened at about 2.30pm on February 29 last year. He was treated at the scene and rushed to hospital, but died of his injuries.

The young Warwick man was a well-known motocross racer and mechanic who worked at Pompano Beach Club.

He had been studying for his engine driving test, hoping to get his tractor trailer licence, and aspired to become a boat mechanic with Shawn White and family at Bay Imports.

Yesterday afternoon it took jurors less than two hours to clear Mr Simmons, who was represented by lawyer Marc Daniels, of causing Mr Matthie’s death by careless driving.

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