Monday 3 March 2014

Case against Taunton fireworks organiser dropped.

The case against Geoffrey Counsellthe organiser of the fireworks display at Taunton where a crash on the M5 occurred has been dropped. The crash, on 4th November 2011, killed 7 and injured 51. 
The display was at a rugby club close to the motorway.  Smoke from the display drifted across the motorway.  In itself, this would not have caused much of a problem, but it combined with naturally-occurring fog to form smog, which was so thick that motorists on the northbound carriageway likened it to having a tin of paint thrown over their windscreens.
The argument is that smog is not unknown and was common in London before the Clear Air Act.  
However, this was many years ago and its occurrence is not something which most people nowadays consider.
Judge Justice Simon directed the jury at Bristol Crown Court on 9th December 2013 to return a verdict of not guilty.

The judge stated, "The prosecution case required Mr Counsell to appreciate and react more or less instantly to something not thought to be a hazard to anyone and had no previous reason to think it was a hazard.There was no proper basis that you could have concluded that a reasonable person would have appreciated a reasonable risk and reacted to it to stop the display. The Prosecution must show a risk that is more than fanciful and theoretical, one which would require a reasonable person to do something about it.  It focusses on the important aspect of foresight without the benefit of hindsight."

See article on this.

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