Northern Ireland news

Mother loses zebra crossing road crash legal challenge

Laganside Court in Belfast

The mother of a schoolgirl knocked down at a zebra crossing has lost a legal battle to have the motorist involved face criminal charges.

High Court judges in Belfast rejected claims that the decision not to prosecute him for careless driving was irrational.

The girl was aged 12 when she was hit by a car at a crossing on the Old Park Road area of the city in March 2013.

She sustained a number of injuries, including a broken arm, according to her lawyers.

The driver of the car accepted that he had not seen her until the collision occurred, the court heard.

A civil action brought against him has now been settled.

The mother of the girl, who cannot be identified because of her age, issued separate judicial review proceedings against the Public Prosecution Service.

She was challenging decisions confirmed in letters last year that the driver would face no prosecution.

Her barrister, David Heraghty, contended that the PPS position was irrational and involved a breach of policy.

However, Lord Justice Deeny, sitting with Mr Justice Burgess, rejected those submissions.

Decision makers do not have to write letters as if they were "acts of Parliament", they stressed.

Lord Justice Deeny said: "It's important to avoid paralysis in the public service that the courts do not quash a decision of a decision maker because a sentence in a paragraph might have been expressed differently."

Citing the delay in issuing proceedings as a further reason, he confirmed leave to seek a judicial review was being refused.

The judge added: "We have to decide whether this was an unlawful decision on the part of the PPS, and it appears to us it was not."

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