Driver not criminally responsible for running over elderly jaywalkers

Woman driver is acquitted of reckless driving after court rules that two elderly people she ran over had crossed the road at a blind corner and with the sun behind them

The court has acquitted a driver accused of running over two elderly women
The court has acquitted a driver accused of running over two elderly women

A driver who collided with two elderly pedestrians has been cleared of criminal responsibility for the incident after a court heard that the victims had crossed at a blind corner with the sun behind them.

Alexia Caruana Coppola had been accused of hitting the two women in Triq Ganu Birkirkara in February 2012, grievously injuring Elizabeth Grech and slightly injuring Pauline Bruno. She was also charged with driving recklessly. 

The two victims had told the court that they were on their way to a coffee morning at 8am and that the road was clear when they decided to cross. The zebra crossing was too far away, they had told the court, so they had decided to cross elsewhere. When they were halfway across the road, they had seen Caruana Coppola’s Fiat coming towards them.

Another eyewitness, a police officer, said that he had seen the whole incident. The car was not going fast, he said, adding that the sun was directly opposite the oncoming vehicle.

The court noted that other eyewitnesses had testified that the car had been going at a moderate speed and that it was not true that the road was clear, as the victims had claimed. The court also pointed out that it was common knowledge that the road would be packed with traffic at 8am.

It also observed that the victims had crossed on a blind corner and had the sun facing oncoming traffic. The driver had tried to avoid the pedestrians when they became visible, but it was too late, the court said.

“In view of all this the court completely exonerates the accused from criminal responsibility. It was not proven that she had committed any shortcoming whilst driving on the day of the incident," the court ruled.

Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit presided the case while lawyers Franco Debono and Marion Camilleri were defence counsel.

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