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NSW The Crash, The Cops and The Courthouse

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by Lionz, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. Okay All, here's a little incident that started back in February that has just been finalised. Hopefully from the experience it may help others out if caught in a similar predicament. Sorry it goes on a bit. Make a coffee, crack a beer, roll one, whatever.

    The Crash:
    Back in Feb i low sided on a tight right hander. Hit a spot of diesel i didn't see and lost the front end. Went down and bashed my shoulder quite heavily. Picked the bike up with a little help, rode home, took my jacket off and it was obvious my collarbone was broken. Went to A&E, got checked out, xrayed, blood tested for drugs and alcohol (all clear). Got a sling and got operated on a week later.



    A plate and 13 screws. Not 12, or 14. 13. Thanks Dr Not So Superstitious Surgeon.

    The Cops:
    Weeks (6+?) later i get a follow up call from the cops to be interviewed about the accident - they got the details from the A&E report. No problem, i've nothing to hide.
    So 2 cops come round and spend 45 mins in my front room talking about what happened. I say travelling at 40kph TOPS more like 25/30/35 - show them my damaged jacket and lid. The lid has impact damage only, no continious scrapes from speed, jacket the same. So speed isn't an issue, the road is a 60 with a few advisory corners. I discuss the diesel aspect, saying the front end was there one minute and gone the next, it just slipped out - he asked if went back and looked at the diesel. No i said - i'm at the side of the road having just dropped my bike feeling sorry for myself, but i know what i hit - diesel. I commute every day on a bike - plenty of diesel on my route i say, so i know what it's like. I tell them i've done 3 advanced rider courses - and i was mentoring at the time of the accident.

    At the end of the interview i ask, "where do i stand?" One cop says '.... considering the circumstances it wouldn't be in the public interest to pursue any charges', to which his mate (who has the notebook) nods and says 'i'll just have to run it past my Sargeant'.

    As they get up to go he asks if i can just sign his notebook - sure, i think i'm signing off on a timesheet to say they turned up! Had a quick read of what he wrote, but with their previous comment of no charges in mind wasn't too worried and signed.

    Then he phones me up a couple of weeks later with a case number, almost apologetically - with a neg driving charge! I was gobsmacked, saying 'mate, you know it was diesel that caused this, the condition of the road, diesel being the road contanaiment' he says he knows, there's nothing he can do. It looks like the decision has been made further up the food chain.

    I plead 'Not Guilty' to the TIN.

    I go to court for the first hearing (self employed, day off, no pay) to enter my not guilty plea. I have photos of the bend, similar light conditions (tree lined, sunny, shadows). I give a quick summary of what happened and the judge can't understand why we're there, she asks me to talk to the oic before we go back for the next court date. I do that, it's the same cop, I tell him what the judge said, said you know it was diesel. It looks like the judge is hinting that you should reconsider. He says i mentioned the diesel AFTER i signed the notebook (what?? in the 3 metre walk to my front door from where i signed and not in the 45 minute chat beforehand??)

    I ask him to look at it again before wasting my time, more lost earnings, my witnesses time, 2 cops in court, etc, etc. He says he will. Phones me back a couple of weeks later and says it's still going ahead.

    I asked numerous times for a photocopy of the notebook statement to see exactly what i'd signed off on. First excuse was it's in his old notebook and not to hand, then he says i will get it on the court date with the BoE, and i'm not entitled to it beforehand.

    I know the BoE will be presented on the court date only and they can change it as they see fit up to that date as far as content goes. I was fortunate to get some advice and issued a subpoena (another half day at court) to get the photocopy i required..... 2 days before court. As expected, no mention of the diesel in the notebook, just a quick dozen or so lines to cover the incident off in summary.

    Also as expected, the last entry on the BoE presented at court stated 'Mr Lionz has mentioned oil on the road in subsequent conversations on this matter'. Surprise, surprise.

    The Courthouse:
    So the Prosecutor tries to get me to change my plea on the day, explaining that because there'd been an accident that was proof enough there was negligence, irrespective of my riding skills or the road condition and he has a dozen motoring incidents to 'whip through today'. I tell him he wont be whipping through mine and i dont want this going down as another 'at fault' motorcyclist incident on the stats when it was, in fact, due to road contamination. He tells me to stop pointing my finger at him. I tell him i'm making a point, not pointing. I felt like clocking him. Jumped up little fcuker, we're not off to a good start.

    So the cop gives his evidence, the prosecutor cross examines, then i get my go. I clarify the 40kph TOPS comment to get speed out of the equation, he agrees. I clarify my clothing to show impact damage, not excess abrasions - again from the speed aspect and he agrees. Then i go for the diesel comment and he agrees it was discussed in my front room. I'll give the cop his due he was a stand up guy in the witness box regarding the interview.

    I then give my evidence, show the pics of the bend, described the lines the other two guys took who were travelling at the same speed and showed my line. Mr Prosecutor fcuks up a couple of times on his questioning - even the judge pulled him up at one point and said 'the defendant didn't say that'! Finally he says 'Do you concede that the other two riders were riding with due care and attention and you were not?'. I said "Absolutely not, i concede the other two riders, who were travelling at the same speed as me, took lines that didn't have diesel on them".

    This has gone on for nearly an hour now. Then Mrs Judge finally sums up with "I can find no evidence that Mr Lionz drove without due care and attention or with negligence".......... Not Guilty!

    So, a few pointers that may help others:

    Honesty is not always the best policy.
    If you fall off your beloved steed and require hospital attention ensure your beloved steed is a ladder that was up against your house when it happened.
    The hospital A&E HAS to send a report to the cops in the event of a motor incident and take blood samples. The cops HAVE to follow up.
    You DO NOT have to attend an interview, you can decline. This has been covered in other threads.
    You DO NOT have to give a statement. No comment, no comment, no comment. No statement, no evidence, no charge.

    If you do end up in court defending yourself follow the rules of common sense: Do your homework. Get pictures of the actual incident/location asap. Seek legal advice as soon as possible and document everything. If you have a witness they MUST attend (as in my case a stat dec witnessed by a JP is not sufficient and not eligible). Structure your defence and have your questions written down in a logical order to lead from one to another. Be confident - go to court beforehand and watch what happens so it becomes more familiar. Be smart - literally, dress well and be taken seriously.

    Thanks to:
    Lozzer, for finally noticing i was no longer behind him after ten minutes. That's what friends are for.

    The Guy with the s1000rr who helped me pick the bike up. That's what fellow riders are for.

    The Cop, for being a stand up guy in the box. I'm still not sure what cops are for.

    Justus, for pointing me in the right direction on a number of legal matters and court rules. Thanks Mate, much appreciated - that's for sure.

    Cheers All, ride safely, Lionz.
    • Informative Informative x 7
    • Like Like x 4
    • Winner Winner x 2
  2. #2 Tas man, Oct 17, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 17, 2013
    RESULT sounds good. Having to go through all the sh!te to get there = not so good.

    If I may offer a piece of advice for others - "there was no bike accident". You tripped over a gutter walking home from bible study.

    Kudos to those who were able to give you solid advice.
  3. Absolutely
  4. Agreed. Although presenting with a broken pushbike also works, allegedly.
  5. It was daft of me mick i know, but i thought transparency and a bit of common sense would have prevailed. Wont be making that mistake again.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Might struggle to claim on CTP if you try that line.
  7. Well done, it's no wonder the average Joe is fed up with the cops these days. What a shameful waste of everybody's time. How's the shoulder now ?
    • Agree Agree x 2
  8. Yeah and how does the "there was no bike accident" thing go down when you then want to claim on your insurance?

    Edit: And the MAIB (or whatever for your state)...
  9. Good outcome. Stupid process.

    just one thing though. Its always best to notify if it was a road incident.
    TAC covers you for a very very very long time if you need further medical support.
    Have a mate who did his back in a car accident. TAC Covered everything and he was fine for years, and then his back went bad from the op, and he's still covered.

    Falling off the ladder may not be the best excuse..

    Glad you're ok mate.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  10. Faultless TP is great if you live in a state with it - Tas, Vic. Others though? Your fault, your problem.
  11. Pathetic. Someone gets hurt and then gets charged. Where is the common sense and humanity these days?

    BTW, @Lionz were you offered the surgery on the collarbone or insisted on it yourself (public or private hospital)?
  12. OP is fairly clear that he lives in NSW
  13. Since when did the hospital's have to report motor vehicle accident victims to the police?

    About 10 years ago I dropped my bike on my foot which became swollen & needed xray's, luckily was not reported to the police at the time.

    Sounds like your guilty until proven innocent!

    glad you got off it, what a waste of time & thanks for the advice, looks like i'll be riding my ladder from now on.

    btw, did your insurance pay up for the bike?
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Exactly - so no TP is payable.
  15. I fell off in a single vehical accident on my way to berry, broke my collarbone and went to the hospital at Nowra to get fixed up. Spoke to the the doctors, told them what happened and they took blood test and fixed me up.

    I havn't heard a thing since, and my insurance went through with no problem.

    How does yours differ to mine ??

    Oh and glad to see you beat the charge . .what a waste of taxpayers $$
  16. "The hospital A&E HAS to send a report to the cops in the event of a motor incident and take blood samples. The cops HAVE to follow up."

    If you fall off a mountain bike they don't. I came off a mountain bike at around 140 last year, but it was on my mate James' farm, so it was alright.
  17. Cheers

    Stiff but definately getting there. Had an infection that set in that wasn't pretty and made the scar tissue attach to the screws when i couldn't move the arm. That had to be massaged off over time. All good now though.

    Fair point, although in my case it was just gravel rash and secondhand OEM fairings

  18. fair enough . .maybe because I am 400k's away they didn't think it was worth chasing me up .. in any event I havn't heard from any police over the accident
  19. Doesn't sound as though it does differ hallmar - expect something in the post shortly. My Legal fees are very reasonable too. ;)

    I was just told i needed it because the break was too far apart to heal on its own. it worked further apart over the week before surgery and was sticking out a bit. It was public, Royal North Shore.

    Be careful on the top rung Pops! I didn't make a claim, wasn't worth it. Just sourced a full fairing set from another 2011 that was tracked.
  20. There is that, although given if you present to casualty as a public patient with after falling of a ladder or pushbike they fix you for nothing - sure after care is a bit pricey but that's what private health insurance is for. Allegedly.