Newbridge cyclist death crash trial nears end

Andrzej Wojcicki (9414402)

Pictured is a copy of a photograph of Owain James, a cyclist who was killed in a road crash last year. (9428906)

First published in News
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PROSECUTION and defence lawyers gave their closing speeches yesterday in the trial of a driver accused of causing a cyclist’s death.

Andrzej Wojcicki, 44, was driving a white Mercedes minibus carrying his wife and two daughters back from a Jehovah’s Witnesses convention in Coventry when he collided with Oakdale cyclist Owain Richard James on the A472 at Newbridge on July 21 last year.

Wojcicki, of Conway Court in Blackwood, denies the charge and said the cyclist swerved in front of him giving him no time to react.

But the prosecution said his driving was dangerous because he was not paying attention and had been taking photographs on his mobile phone up to half a mile before the impact.

Nicholas Jones, prosecuting, told Cardiff Crown Court the driver was “not looking” at the time of the collision, adding that driving a minibus at 50-55mph weighing around 2.5 tons without paying attention would be “highly dangerous”. “The defendant was clearly taking photos on his mobile phone up to less than half a mile away from the collision,” he said.

He said Wojcicki had not initially told police he was taking photographs on the road before the crash.

In his interviews he said he was 20 to 30 metres away from the cyclist before he saw him, Mr Jones said.

“He’s now saying he was about 100 metres away when he first saw the cyclist, totally different from what he said in interview. The prosecution say that’s a lie anyway, because he didn’t see him. In evidence he said he suddenly swerved into the lane. The question is whether you believe him.”

Wojcicki drove on for another 130 metres before stopping, Mr Jones said.

The prosecution also said two witnesses claimed Wojcicki told them he had not seen the cyclist and said that he did not brake or swerve when approaching Mr James. But Lord Harley, defending, said the cyclist had caused the collision by suddenly swerving towards the minibus. He said: “[The time] for him to come into the path of my client was less than a second. It was all over in a second, all over.

“The uncomfortable truth is there simply isn’t any evidence that conclusively [shows], or goes anywhere near putting him as responsible for this crash.”

He added: “If you convict Mr Wojcicki because Mr James has died as a result of the crash, you will not have done justice.”

Summing up, Judge David Wynn Morgan said: “The fact somebody has sadly been killed does not mean somebody must be to blame.”

The jury will retire to consider a verdict this morning.

Proceeding.

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