Policeman found guilty of driving without due care and attention
A POLICEMAN drove carelessly when he went through a red light and knocked over a motorcyclist in Cheltenham, causing life-changing injuries, a court ruled.
PC Ruaidhri Stewart was found guilty of driving without due care and attention at North Avon Magistrates' Court following an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) into a collision on March 22 last year.
Nicholas Austin, who was riding a motorbike along Lansdown Road, suffered life-changing injuries when he was struck by a marked police car driven by Stewart, who went through a red light as he travelled from Talbot Road.
Mr Austin, 53, at the time, from Gloucester, was said yesterday to have been permanently affected by the injuries.
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PC Stewart, 33, was fined £2,771 and received a six-month driving ban after being found at fault for his part in the crash.
Gloucestershire constabulary yesterday said he might also be subject to internal disciplinary action.
IPCC Commissioner Naseem Malik said: "Our investigation found sufficient evidence for the Crown Prosecution Service to bring charges against PC Stewart.
"The court found PC Stewart guilty and he was fined £2,771 and six penalty points.
"This means that he has been disqualified from driving for six months."
A statement from Gloucestershire police said the force respected the court's decision.
It said: "Our thoughts are with the man seriously injured in the incident. As a result of the court's finding we will now consider whether internal disciplinary action is required.
"The officer concerned will remain suspended from driving and will be required to undergo assessment by the driver training unit before returning to normal duties."
The incident took place at around 7pm on the busy Cheltenham road. The route was closed off for around four hours as forensic teams carried out their investigations.
An eye-witness, who drove past moments after the collision, recalled seeing Mr Austin lying on the road, with paramedics treating him.
He said yesterday: "It was fairly clear at the time what had happened as it was right outside the police station – the squad car had obviously pulled out without due care. I'm very sorry to hear the man's injuries are permanent."