Margaret Ward fatal cycling accident

dennis fallon made this Freedom of Information request to Cheshire Constabulary

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Cheshire Constabulary,
I would like to apologise for posting an additional FOI request whilst you are already dealing with a previous one.
I know that you could consider simultaneous requests to be vexatious but I assure they are not,and they are posted in the public interest to understand how the police deal with potentially dangerous drivers.

Very recent media reports(29th November 2012)detail an accident where an
elderly lady,Margaret Ward aged 77,was cycling in a designated
cycle lane, in broad daylight, when she was apparently cut up by a
Porsche Boxster driver entering a Porsche dealership and died as a
result of the collision.

http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningn...

On the basis of the information in the report,I cannot understand
how such a case of causing death or injury by dangerous driving has
not been pursued, as apparently the driver of the car was not
arrested at the scene and,apparently, has not been arrested
subsequently.

Obviously the driver of the Porsche Boxster has caused a death as a
result of an accident and I would appreciate knowing why there
appears to be no legal consequences.

FOI Q1.When the police attend the scene of a serious road accident
and make an appraisal of the circumstances do they have a duty to
arrest the driver on suspicion of dangerous driving when
circumstances seem obvious, and what are the guidelines for not
arresting any driver?

FOI Q2.Apparently the driver has never been arrested
subsequently,not been charged with anything,and therefore avoided
normal assessment by the CPS regarding possible criminal charges
and court judgement.
If the on the spot officers do not make an arrest please confirm
who is the next tier of authority who makes the decision not to
proceed with arrest and prosecution.

FOI Q3.Please advise why the driver of the Porsche Boxter was not
identified to the media, and if the driver has any known connection
to the Police,the Council,the Court System or any `official` agency
or diplomatic service which might render them immune.

FOI Q4.Even though the car driver was not arrested please advise if
they were given an alcohol breath test at the scene and if
the attending police vehicles carried such testing equipment.
Please confirm what are Cheshire police guidelines for the alcohol
testing of motorists involved in collisions.

Poor Mrs Ward was cycling within a recognised cycle lane in broad
daylight and I cannot see any legitimate reason for the police not
pursuing a prosecution.
I would like to know who is the named person responsibe for
deciding not to inform the CPS and effectively letting the driver
off.

The police have a duty to apply the law so there must be a good
reason for not arresting anyone, and I thought the CPS, not the
police, has the decision making responsibility to apply the `public
interest test` so I would like to know who has assumed this
responsibility, and why.

I appreciate that FOI applies to recorded information, but I also
appreciate that the police have a duty to alternatively deal with the enquiry as a general request for information to provide
explanation and reassurance.

Thanking you in anticipation.

Yours faithfully,
Dennis Fallon

Cheshire Constabulary

Dear Mr Fallon,

I acknowledge receipt of your correspondence received 03/12/2012 which is
being dealt with as a request for information in accordance with the
Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I am in the process of dealing with your request and will respond in due
course and in any case by 03/01/2013. Please contact us by e-mail at
[Cheshire Constabulary request email] if you have any further enquiries.

Regards

Julie Watson
Administration Assistant
Information Compliance
Professional Standards Department
Tel:        01606 366556

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Dear Ms Watson,
Thank you for the acknowledgement.

Yours faithfully,

dennis fallon

Cheshire Constabulary

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Fallon,

I refer to your recent request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 as set out below:

Very recent media reports(29th November 2012)detail an accident
where an
elderly lady,Margaret Ward aged 77,was cycling in a designated
cycle lane, in broad daylight, when she was apparently cut up by a
Porsche Boxster driver entering a Porsche dealership and died as a
result of the collision.

http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningn...

On the basis of the information in the report,I cannot understand
how such a case of causing death or injury by dangerous driving has
not been pursued, as apparently the driver of the car was not
arrested at the scene and,apparently, has not been arrested
subsequently.

Obviously the driver of the Porsche Boxster has caused a death as a
result of an accident and I would appreciate knowing why there
appears to be no legal consequences.
FOI Q1.When the police attend the scene of a serious road accident
and make an appraisal of the circumstances do they have a duty to
arrest the driver on suspicion of dangerous driving when
circumstances seem obvious, and what are the guidelines for not
arresting any driver?

FOI Q2.Apparently the driver has never been arrested
subsequently,not been charged with anything,and therefore avoided
normal assessment by the CPS regarding possible criminal charges
and court judgement.
If the on the spot officers do not make an arrest please confirm
who is the next tier of authority who makes the decision not to
proceed with arrest and prosecution.

FOI Q3.Please advise why the driver of the Porsche Boxter was not
identified to the media, and if the driver has any known connection
to the Police,the Council,the Court System or any `official` agency
or diplomatic service which might render them immune.

FOI Q4.Even though the car driver was not arrested please advise if
they were given an alcohol breath test at the scene and if
the attending police vehicles carried such testing equipment.
Please confirm what are Cheshire police guidelines for the alcohol
testing of motorists involved in collisions.

In accordance with section 1(1) (a) of the Act our response is provided
below;

The basis for this request is a press report which by its very nature is
not a full account of events. The questions that follow are asking the
Constabulary to give account for issues not reported. What is in a press
report is by and large the business of the newspapers editor. The
Constabulary cannot provide information to account for the newspapers
editorial decisions.

In relation to information that relates directly to the police
investigation into this incident I am not obliged to provide any of the
information.

Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires the Cheshire
Constabulary, when refusing to provide such information (because the
information is exempt) to provide you with a notice which a) states that
fact, b) specifies the exemption in question and c) states (if that would
not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption applies.

The following exemptions apply

Section 21(1). Information reasonably accessible by other means
Section 30 (1) (a). Investigations and Proceedings Conducted by Public
Authorities
Section 40 (2) Personal data

Police powers: Please see the following web links:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publication...

https://www.gov.uk/browse/justice

Our policy on road collisions can be found on the following web page:

http://www.cheshire.police.uk/advice--in...

The Investigation: Section 30 relates to information held by the authority
for the purpose of an investigation to ascertain if a person should be
charged with an offence or where a person charged with an offence is guilty
of it..

Public interest.
There is public interest in transparency and accountability to enable the
public to be better informed and to provide assurance that an investigation
has been conducted properly. However at this early stage, just a few days
after the incident, it is necessary to weigh the prejudice that may be
caused to the investigation and prosecution processes of the Constabulary.
There is a general recognition that it is the public interest to safeguard
the investigatory processes. Disclosure under FOI should not undermine such
investigations and the prosecution of criminal matters nor dissuade
individuals from coming forward to report wrongdoing.
It is not in the public interest to undermine the prosecution process and
the role of the criminal courts as the bodies responsible for determining
guilt. The internet is not the place for such debate which would clearly
undermine the right to a fair trial. Therefore in all the circumstances of
the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the
public interest in disclosing the information.

Section 40 (2) By its very nature any investigation will and does
contain the personal data of parties involved. Specific questions therefore
relate to specific individuals thus:-

Section 40(2) any information to which a request for information relates is
also exempt information if
(a) it constitutes personal data which does not fall within subsection (1),
and
(b) either the first or the second condition below is satisfied
(3) The first condition is:-
(a) in a case where the information falls within any of paragraphs (a) to
(d) of the definition of "data" in section 1(1) of the Data Protection Act
1998, that the disclosure of the information to a member of the public
otherwise than under this Act would contravene:-
(i) any of the data protection principles

In this case disclosure of information relating the person(s) involved
would breach Principles 1 & 2 of the Data Protection Act 1998 and would be
unlawful. This is an absolute exemption.

If you are not satisfied with the decision applied in this case I enclose
for your attention a copy of the Constabulary's appeal procedures.

(See attached file: FOI Appeals Procedures Final Version 1.doc)

Regards

John Gannon
Information Compliance
Professional Standards Department
Tel: 01606 364176

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Dear Cheshire Constabulary,

Thank you for your response dated 2nd January 2013.

You have provided very little information, other than links, and, quote," It is not in the public interest to undermine the prosecution process and
the role of the criminal courts as the bodies responsible for determining guilt. The internet is not the place for such debate which would clearly
undermine the right to a fair trial.

I have to mark the status of this request, which I shall mark as `completed,some information with held, but as the incident is now several months old and you made the excuse of `undermining a fair trial`, can you please confirm if any trial is actually anticipated in this case, or was it just an excuse.
Also is there any reason why the driver has not been identified, as frequently happens in such cases?

Thanking you in anticipation.

Yours faithfully,

dennis fallon

Cheshire Constabulary

Dear Mr Fallon,

Re your enquiry;

I have nothing further to add to my previous response.

Regards

John Gannon
Information Compliance
Professional Standards Department
Tel: 01606 364176
---------------------------------------------------------
Cheshire Constabulary HQ
Oakmere Road,
Winsford,
Cheshire,
CW7 2UA


dennis fallon
<request-140991-2
481f484@whatdothe To
yknow.com> [email address]
.police.uk
21/03/2013 14:44 cc

Subject
Re: Request for information -
Freedom of Information Act 2000 -
No.4219 <NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED>





Dear Cheshire Constabulary,

Thank you for your response dated 2nd January 2013.

You have provided very little information, other than links, and,
quote," It is not in the public interest to undermine the
prosecution process and
the role of the criminal courts as the bodies responsible for
determining guilt. The internet is not the place for such debate
which would clearly
undermine the right to a fair trial.

I have to mark the status of this request, which I shall mark as
`completed,some information with held, but as the incident is now
several months old and you made the excuse of `undermining a fair
trial`, can you please confirm if any trial is actually anticipated
in this case, or was it just an excuse.
Also is there any reason why the driver has not been identified, as
frequently happens in such cases?

Thanking you in anticipation.

Yours faithfully,

dennis fallon

show quoted sections

Dear Cheshire Constabulary,

I`ll let the public decide if you have been open and transparent.

I don`t know what you are trying to hide but it can`t be right to say disclosure might affect a trial when you don`t even disclose if a trial is actually in the offing.

I shall mark this request as `closed, some information not provided`.

Yours faithfully,

dennis fallon

Chris G left an annotation ()

I see from the only available press report that it was a 50 year old woman that was driving. So the drivers identity is known.

It's a matter for the family if they decided to pursue the driver in a civil case for damages or not. I would.

Doesn't matter what the car was, the driver is responsible for keeping a good lookout at all times.

dennis fallon left an annotation ()

Thank you,Chris, for your Human interest and concern.For obvious reasons the police try to keep the crime figures down and they treat some people differently to others.I don`t think it is fair, and as poor Margaret was old I suspect the police haven`t informed her next of kin of their options.The police aren`t bothered, the case will get forgotton.If it was your mother you would be furious,but thats how the `system` works.

Thanks again.

P. John left an annotation ()

Telegraph: Talented golfer spared jail after killing 77-year-old cyclist with Porsche
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/l...

dennis fallon left an annotation ()

Thank you,P.John,for being a caring person and completing the mystery.I was concerned that the Police protect some offenders, for unjustified reasons of status,whilst they smear less significant people whenever it suits them.There seems to be some element of truth to my concerns, as can be seen from the police response which would not even confirm if there was a potential Court Case.The police acted against the public interest by concealing the information when, in reality,it would not have affected any hearing.I do not like undue police secrecy, it worries me how they operate different standards when they are supposed to be unbiased and transparent.
As links may become invalid I will quote from the newspaper, dated 4th Sept 2013, " Tracy Capal, 51, clipped Margaret Ward's front wheel when she turned into a Porsche car dealership.The great-grandmother, who was on her way to visit her late husband Bob's grave, suffered serious head and chest injuries and died later in hospital.Capal appeared at Chester Crown Court on Friday where she admitted causing death by careless driving and was given a suspended jail term. She was also banned from driving for two years.The court heard Capal, a speech writer and leading figure within Manchester’s Jewish community, had no idea that she had hit Mrs Ward, a former primary school caretaker, and parked her car on the forecourt".

Thank you to P.John, no thank you to Cheshire Constabulary.