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Illegal fatal drivers to take blame

Drivers who cause a death while disqualified, unlicensed or uninsured are still committing an offence even if they are not to blame for the accident, Court of Appeal judges have ruled.

Three judges in London, announcing their reasons for rejecting a conviction challenge by an unlicensed motorist jailed after hitting a pedestrian who stepped out in front of his uninsured vehicle, said "blameworthy conduct was not necessary".

Lord Justice Thomas, sitting with Mr Justice Silber and Judge James Wadsworth QC, had been asked to find that the offence of causing death by driving when unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured could not be committed "without some fault or other blameworthy conduct" on a driver's part.

But the judges, ruling that such conduct was not necessary, said it was "sufficient" that the driving had been "a" cause of the death - one that was more than "minute or negligible".

The unsuccessful appeal was brought by bar manager Jason John Williams, 39, from Swansea, who was tried at Swansea Crown Court on a single count of causing death by driving without insurance and without a licence.

Lord Justice Thomas said the prosecution accepted that "no fault, carelessness or lack of consideration in driving can be attributed to the appellant".

On the evening of February 10 2009 he was driving on a dual carriageway in the centre of Swansea when 41-year-old David Loosemore "crossed the southbound carriageway, crossed over the central reservation and stepped out in front of the car being driven by the appellant".

He died the following day as the result of head injuries sustained in the collision.

Lord Justice Thomas said it was "difficult to conceive of any other intention of Parliament that if a person drove unlicensed or uninsured he would be liable for death that was caused by his driving however much the victim might be at fault".

He added that "it was therefore sufficient that the cause was not negligible".

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