Helmet "evidence."

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thirdcrank
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Re: Helmet "evidence."

Postby thirdcrank » 28 Mar 2015, 8:16am

In criminal cases, there is a reluctance to curtail the rights of the defendant to defend themselves how they wish.

Read Bicycler's link to the section of the Road Traffic Act which gives the HC its statutory authority and the right to use the HC seems pretty clear to me. I can't see how a judge could stop it being used in the way I've suggested, especially if a defendant were to be charged with some form of bad driving based on the HC. The way it was presented to the jury would have to make it clear that it was not being alleged that not wearing a helmet caused the crash, or that wearing one would have saved the casualty from injury. The defence would be saying that the Crown cannot be selective about the advice in the HC.

And, however it was dressed up, the jury would be thinking that it's common sense that cyclists should wear helmets.

As gaz points out, we don't know of any cases where this has been tried before, so perhaps I better shut up to avoid giving anybody any bright ideas. :oops:

Vorpal
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Re: Helmet "evidence."

Postby Vorpal » 28 Mar 2015, 9:09am

thirdcrank wrote:In criminal cases, there is a reluctance to curtail the rights of the defendant to defend themselves how they wish.

Read Bicycler's link to the section of the Road Traffic Act which gives the HC its statutory authority and the right to use the HC seems pretty clear to me. I can't see how a judge could stop it being used in the way I've suggested, especially if a defendant were to be charged with some form of bad driving based on the HC. The way it was presented to the jury would have to make it clear that it was not being alleged that not wearing a helmet caused the crash, or that wearing one would have saved the casualty from injury. The defence would be saying that the Crown cannot be selective about the advice in the HC.

And, however it was dressed up, the jury would be thinking that it's common sense that cyclists should wear helmets.

As gaz points out, we don't know of any cases where this has been tried before, so perhaps I better shut up to avoid giving anybody any bright ideas. :oops:


That's fair enough, although I suppose if that were introduced in summing up, it would be considered 'new evidence'; that is, it should have argued earlier, which would give the prosecutor an opportunity to defend the victim's right not to wear a helmet, and to show that it was not relevant. If a defendent is being charged with some form of bad driving, even if it is based on the HC (and not underlying legislation), it still has to be shown that it is relevant. If the defence is going to argue that we cannot pick and choose from the HC, then they, too, must show why it is relevant.

And let us not forget that the prosecutor is obliged to perform theatrically, as well. :?

Unfortunately, it may be easier for theatrics to introduce a reasonable doubt, than to prove a prosecution case.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

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horizon
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Re: Helmet "evidence."

Postby horizon » 28 Mar 2015, 1:53pm

thirdcrank wrote:
And, however it was dressed up, the jury would be thinking that it's common sense that cyclists should wear helmets.



And common sense not to cycle on the road and common sense to buy a car and common sense to use the pavement and common sense not to get in the way of one's betters and common sense to be like everyone else and common sense not to be awkward and common sense to complain about petrol prices and common sense to vote UKIP and common sense not to expect drivers to be punished for killing cyclists. And it's obviously common sense.

Cycle helmets are important to motorists. They signify the acceptance that you may be hit, that you are compelled to wear one, that you are marked out as different and servile, that you accept rule by the motorist. Cyclists that don't wear helmets are dangerous rebels and deserve a whipping - how dare they imply that it is up the motorist to take more care and thus obviate the need for a helmet? Of course motorists shout "Wear a helmet!" for they are really saying "We are then free to hit you and you have acknowledged as such."

And all this is in the minds of the jurors. And if any prosecution lawyer were to suggest that twelve white men trying a white man for killing a Black man may result in a biased trial, he would be laughed out of court.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

Tonyf33
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Re: Helmet "evidence."

Postby Tonyf33 » 28 Mar 2015, 3:57pm

The 'evidence' of helmets is that they are tested to not break/withstand an impact using the drop test.
Beyond that test it is all conjecture and anecdote as to how much a helmet might have helped reduce any impact so impacts with anything other than flat surfaces at or below the test parameter should not be considered as there is actually no evidence at all.
The fact that they are not a legal requirement judges should be instructed to mention to both parties that they must not bring them up with regard to 'blame' and/or liability, surely it is contra to the law of requiring actual real hard evidence/proof. Without that 'evidence' how can the arguement even be there in the first instance.
And IF we are to judge (on whether a helmet should have being worn etc) then surely that should be on the basis of comparison to other every day life activities..like driving a motorvehicle for instance.. :twisted:

thirdcrank
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Re: Helmet "evidence."

Postby thirdcrank » 28 Mar 2015, 5:05pm

I don't claim to be any sort of expert on the rules of Crown Court procedure, but if the casualty were dead, then apart from establishing that they were not wearing a helmet eg by asking prosecution witnesses, I'm not sure that there's anything more a defence lawyer need do during the prosecution case. As I've already posted, if the casualty survived and was a prosecution, then if the defence wanted to make an issue of their not complying with the HC, I think it would have to be put to them. If they could provoke a response like this from a witness, they would be pleased with themselves.

Aside from the fact your little 'court statement' is full of holes/lies/myths and unproven nonsense have you seen any boxes with the words 'safety helmet' on them..thought not :roll:


Defence barrister looks down, defence solicitor looks at the jury to see how they are responding and prosecution barrister looks at the ceiling, wishing that he'd been warned about how the witness might respond.

In my scenario, only two things are being said. First, that the casualty was not complying with a rule of the HC, secondly, that that might show a tendency to ignore the HC more generally.

FWIW, I don't think it would make any difference if the defence took out ad's in the press announcing that this would be raised during the trial. The more fuss that was made, IMO the more helmet-wearing or the lack of it would become a central issue.

reohn2
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Re: Helmet "evidence."

Postby reohn2 » 28 Mar 2015, 5:39pm

horizon wrote:
thirdcrank wrote:
And, however it was dressed up, the jury would be thinking that it's common sense that cyclists should wear helmets.



And common sense not to cycle on the road and common sense to buy a car and common sense to use the pavement and common sense not to get in the way of one's betters and common sense to be like everyone else and common sense not to be awkward and common sense to complain about petrol prices and common sense to vote UKIP and common sense not to expect drivers to be punished for killing cyclists. And it's obviously common sense.

Cycle helmets are important to motorists. They signify the acceptance that you may be hit, that you are compelled to wear one, that you are marked out as different and servile, that you accept rule by the motorist. Cyclists that don't wear helmets are dangerous rebels and deserve a whipping - how dare they imply that it is up the motorist to take more care and thus obviate the need for a helmet? Of course motorists shout "Wear a helmet!" for they are really saying "We are then free to hit you and you have acknowledged as such."

And all this is in the minds of the jurors. And if any prosecution lawyer were to suggest that twelve white men trying a white man for killing a Black man may result in a biased trial, he would be laughed out of court.

You are absolutely spot on,cyclists have been far too long regardded in this country,as some kind of deviant sub sect out group,who should be made to protect themselves from being hit by their betters.
After all only fools and poor people would ride a bike by choice wouldn't they?
So it's their own fault,isn't it?
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I cycle therefore I am.