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02-Mar-11, 19:40
Lapse in concentration led to collision

A SHERIFF heard this week of a road accident in which a motor cyclist and his pillion passenger were thrown onto a road after a collision with a car.
The driver of the bike blacked out and his companion sustained three broken bones in his back, Wick Sheriff Court was told on Tuesday.
In the dock was the car driver, retired Cyril Digby Grant, 78, of Skansen, Dixonfield, Thurso, who denied a charge of careless driving.
The motorbike driver, Patrick Doake, 52, told how he was heading for Wick, with a pillion passenger and was approaching the crossroads at Bower, on the main B876 road, on September 21, last year when he observed the brake lights of a car preparing to emerge from the side road on his right.
Mr Doake, a gardener, said he assumed the driver (the accused) was going to stop, and told the court on Tuesday: “I had the right of way and kept going”.
However, Mr Doake, who lives in the Castletown area, told the court that Digby Grant suddenly pulled out in front of him. Mr Doake said he had no time to brake and the next he remembered, was sitting up on the road.
He said: “ I was in shock...I think I must have blacked out. I heard my pillion passenger, George Sweetin shouting that he had broken his back.”
Mr Doake said that if Digby Grant had looked both ways before he emerged from the side road, he was bound to have seen the motor bike, as the road was a straight stretch and the bike’s lights were on.
Mr Sweetin (48) who lives in the Murkle area, appeared in the witness box with a chest support. He said he had suffered nerve damage to his right hand, in addition to the fractures to his back. He had spent seven weeks in hospital and was still taking pain killing medication. Mr Sweetin said that they had been driving along about 40mph and he was taking in the scenery, when he heard, ‘Patrick’ exclaim ‘Oh’... and the next he heard was a thud.
He said: “I went flying off the bike onto the road. I ended up on my back and was in total agony.”
Barbara Macadie, a Bower housewife, said that Digby Grant, a volunteer driver, had just collected her father for a trip to the Castle of Mey, prior to the accident.
Ms Macadie told the court that she too was going out in her car, and was behind the accused’s car which “didn’t stop for long” at the give-way junction. Then, she observed Digby Grant’s car being driven slowly across the main road, in the direction of the exit route opposite, when the collision occurred.
After hearing further evidence, Sheriff Andrew Berry found Digby Grant, a first offender, guilty.
His solicitor, Eric Bejal described the offence as “a momentary lapse of concentration” in an otherwise unblemished driving record. The accused was fined £200 and incurred three penalty points. The sheriff commented that, because the charge was one of careless, as opposed to dangerous driving, he was not entitled to take into account, the injury consequences sustained by the Mr Doake and his passenger.