Dangerous driver in fatal smash to do 80hrs service work

| 22/06/2018

(CNS): A Grand Court judge ordered Noel Vaughn Douglas (37) to undertake 80 hours of community service work over the next 12 months for his conviction for dangerous driving ahead of a major crash in which his close friend Matthew Owens (31) was killed. Douglas was acquitted of causing Owen’s death following a trial earlier this year in connection with the fatal collision which happened in December 2015. Douglas was also banned from driving for two years in a case which the judge said was very close to requiring a custodial sentence. 

But with not just a clean record but an exemplary character, the court found that it was not appropriate to jail Douglas, who has suffered significantly over the last two and a half years since his friend, who was driving a motorcycle on the Linford Pearson Highway, was killed in the smash.

Douglas was driving his BMW, while Owens was on a 1000cc high performance Yamaha motorbike behind him when Douglas overtook a car and crashed into an oncoming vehicle. Owens had overtaken and collided with the rear end of the same car and was catapulted from his bike. Owens was not wearing a crash helmet and died at the scene.

Douglas had some alcohol in his system at the time but he was not over the legal limit and reconstruction experts concluded that he could have been travelling anywhere between 50mph and more than 70mph at the time of the smash with the oncoming vehicle on the 40mph limit road.

During his submissions on behalf of Douglas, defence attorney Nick Dixey argued that Douglas had not caused Owens death as he could not know that the bike rider had also made the same maneuver to overtake, according to the findings of the accident reconstructionists.

The jury was given ‘steps to verdict’ to consider whether or not Douglas was responsible for Owens’ death as a result of dangerous or careless driving or whether he was only guilty of dangerous or careless driving, given his responsibility for the collision with the oncoming car. The jury found he was not culpable for his friend’s death and found Douglas guilty of just dangerous driving in relation to the original collision.

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Category: Courts, Crime

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