Blameless driver charged over accident after he hit a pothole

A blameless motorcyclist was left facing court and a fine of up to £5,000 after police charged him over an accident they knew was caused by a pothole.

Andrew Bannell was left severely injured after he hit a road defect and lost control of his Suzuki, hitting a car travelling in the opposite direction.

Despite suffering broken ribs, a punctured lung, an eye haemorrhage and ligament damage to his knee, the 25-year-old was charged with driving without due care and
attention by officers from Avon and Somerset Police.

A pothole in the road Accident: A pothole in the road caused motorcyclist Andrew Bannell to hit a car

But accident investigators’ report concluded that the motorcyclist was not to blame – and workers who recovered Mr Bannell’s bike claim officers told them that the pothole caused the crash.

Mr Bannell’s lawyer Darren Hackley-Green of motorcycle specialists NewLaw said: ‘The behaviour of the police in this case has been outrageous.

‘They formally charged my client with driving without due care and attention, even though they knew that a pothole caused the accident.

The forensic collision investigator’s report prepared by the police themselves confirmed that the pothole had been at fault, since it showed tyre marks exiting the
pothole itself.

‘However, they failed to disclose that fact until I specifically asked them in writing for a copy of the report.

‘At that point the charges were dropped. Had Mr Bannell not sought legal representation, an entirely innocent motorcyclist may have had a criminal record.’

Mr Bannell, from Langport in Somerset, still suffers blurred vision and cannot remember the accident on the A371 in May.

The maximum punishment for driving without due care and attention is a £5,000 fine and a ban from the roads.

Avon and Somerset Police said responsibility for prosecuting lay with the Crown Prosecution Service.

But a spokesman for the CPS said the police prepare cases in minor traffic offences.
Mr Hackley-Green added that officers should have sought more guidance from the CPS before charging his innocent client.

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now