Police driver banned for careless driving

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Adrian Hobson (30) will have to retake his driving test when the ban ends. Nothing was said in court about the potential effect that the conviction might have on his career.

Hobson’s marked BMW police car drove into a Mini Cooper at about 1.30 am on 24 October 2016 at the junction of David Place and Stopford Road. Both cars were written off.

The Magistrate’s Court heard on Thursday that the defendant was driving alongside a colleague and they were responding to a call to go to Bath Street, where other officers were in ‘personal danger’ dealing with an ‘escalating’ incident outside the Havana nightclub.

Advocate Alison Brown, defending, said that they were the only officers free to respond to the call, as all of their other colleagues were occupied by other duties.

The court heard that Hobson initially went through a red light at the Val Plaisant junction with David Place before speeding up and then slowing down to go across the Stopford Road/David Place junction.

Hobson was originally charged with dangerous driving, which he denied, and was due to stand trial on that offence. But defence and prosecution lawyers agreed that the charge could be dropped and replaced with the less serious one of driving without due care and attention.

Legal adviser Sam Brown said: ‘This is a case which reveals a series of failures by a serving police officer in respect of his attendance to an incident in central St Helier.’

He said that the other driver involved in the crash went through a green light, while the defendant’s vehicle ‘emerged after passing through the red light’.

He said that both cars were write-offs and there was also damage to the traffic lights at the Victoria Street/David Place junction.

Mr Brown said the prosecution accepted that Hobson was responding to ‘a genuine emergency call’ and acknowledged that no one was injured in the collision.

He said that the driving, characterised as careless, took place at the junction of David Place/Stopford Road but he said that it was not possible to say what was the exact speed of the vehicle at the time of the collision. Estimates were given in court that the speed could have been anywhere between 15.8 mph and 26.8 mph.

Advocate Brown said her client was a 30-year-old family man of good character who was a serving police officer. She said that he had joined the States of Jersey Police when he moved to the Island five years ago. She told the court that he ‘regretted’ the incident.

In imposing the driving ban, Assistant Magistrate Peter Harris said that Hobson was not driving ‘sufficiently carefully’ when he collided with the other vehicle.

Mr Harris said it was accepted that drivers of emergency vehicles should not be required to abide with all road traffic law at all times but said that the question of public safety and care had to be taken into account in all circumstances. ‘In my view, the defendant drove at excessive speed leading up to the accident,’ he said.

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