Long serving Wrexham Council executive member Malcolm King has been cleared of causing a collision through careless driving after an expert witness backed up his claims of brake failure.
Magistrates’ chairman Jane Edwards dismissed the case, stating that there were “far too many inconsistencies” for the prosecution case to be proved.
Speaking at Prestatyn Magistrates Court, Mr King said he was relieved by the decision but knew all along that he had done nothing wrong.
The councillor and former chairman of the North Wales Police Authority was charged following a collision in October 2012 as he drove back from a council meeting in Wrexham to his home in Llanelidan near Ruthin.
He failed to stop at a T-junction with the A525 at Llysfasi after travelling down a series of country lanes, sending his Volvo straight into an Alfa Romeo on its way to Wrexham.
The impact of the crash, which Mr King described as “like a bomb going off”, sent the Alfa Romeo hurtling through a fence into a nearby field. Mr King broke his leg and two ribs.
Mr King’s vehicle was travelling at about 25mph at the time of the collision, after he travelled round a 90 degree bend on the approach to the junction.
At the time he insisted that he was familiar with the route and that it would be “inviting suicide” not to stop completely at the junction – but his brakes had failed.
He said: “I pressed the brake to the floor but nothing happened.”
Speaking to the court, he said the incident followed a similar episode five weeks earlier, when his brakes failed in the Guildhall car park in Wrexham. He consequently spent £1,600 on new brakes and tyres.
However, police vehicle examiner Arwyn Roche disputed his claim, saying the Volvo’s black box did not show signs of hard braking before the collision.
However, consultant automobile engineer Mark Willis, an expert witness called by the defence, said that a car’s black box could be unreliable after a collision.
He added that the brakes failure might have been caused by ‘vapour lock’, brought about by repeated hard braking on the lanes and hills before the junction.
Commenting on the case, Mark Lampkin, Principal Solicitor and founder and owner of Lampkin & Co Solicitors, said:
“Sometimes a road traffic accident is a genuine accident and there is nothing the driver or anyone else involved could have done.
“If however, you were involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault and it can be proved that negligence or blame can be attributed elsewhere, you are eligible to make a claim.”
Find out more about how no win no fee Lampkin & Co Solicitors can pursue a personal injury claim on your behalf.