Cambs police sergeant who knocked woman off cycle found guilty of careless driving
A POLICEMAN who knocked a woman off her bicycle was today found guilty of careless driving. Sgt Robert Norman, 43, was behind the wheel of a police van yards from Chatteris Police Station when he collided with Post Officer worker Jane Gill outside Barcla
A POLICEMAN who knocked a woman off her bicycle was today found guilty of careless driving.
Sgt Robert Norman, 43, was behind the wheel of a police van yards from Chatteris Police Station when he collided with Post Officer worker Jane Gill outside Barclays Bank.
Mrs Gill, who had been knocked off her cycle in the same spot just six months earlier, was left in need of hospital treatment, including six stitches over her left eye.
Sgt Norman - who has served 21 years in the police force and is part of the neighbourhood policing team in Chatteris - had denied that he drove without due care and attention at the time of the accident on December 18 last year.
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He claimed that the pillar in his police Ford Connect van had obscured his view as he drove out of East Park Street, planning to turn right into town.
But District Judge Ken Sheraton said at Fenland magistrates court today: "Even if that was the case, he should have been aware of any obstruction to his view and should have taken the time to accommodate any obstruction."
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Sgt Norman's clean driving licence was endorsed with five points and he was fined �300 with �200 costs, and he must pay a �15 surcharge.
Prosecuting, William Powell said the accident happened about 1.30pm, as Sgt Norman drove out of East Park Street, at its junction with Market Hill.
"It was his duty to make sure he could proceed safely," said Mr Powell. "He didn't look to his right, or did not look with sufficient thoroughness to see the cyclist coming towards him."
Giving her evidence to the court, Mrs Gill said a black car pulled out in front of her before the accident.
"I was then aware of aware of a white wing in front of me," she said. "I let out a rude word and was then picking myself up. I don't remember the collision at all."
Giving evidence at his trial, Sgt Norman said he had driven every day, prior to the accident.
He had left Chatteris police station just seconds before the accident, and was on his way to a meeting in March when he drove out of the junction and collided with the cycle.
"As a police officer I am always looking around me and ahead of me," he said. The sergeant said he twice looked both ways before pulling out, and had not seen the cyclist. "I don't think I could have done any more," he added.
"My view was obscured because of the front door pillar and mirror and the strip between the quarter light and the side window," he said.
"As I moved across I was aware of the collision with Mrs Gill, she appeared on the bonnet in front of me. I had not seen her prior to impact.
Tom Godfrey, representing the officer, suggested that Mrs Gill had cut the corner, so she hit the front of the police van, rather than the front.
He told the Judge: "His vision must have been obscured; there is not other explanation for it.
"He is a qualified and experienced officer who says he carried out all necessary checks."
Mrs Gill, who still has a scar over her left eye, has given up cycling through the town since the accident.
"I now bike up Station Road and then walk the rest of the way to work," she said.