Devon Freewheelers Blood Bike Volunteer Acquitted On All Charges
A volunteer riding for the Devon Freewheelers (DFW), represented at court by barrister Harry Bowyer, was stopped by an Officer of the Devon and Cornwall Police whilst transporting surgical instruments urgently required by the Nuffield Hospital.
He was charged with speeding and riding a vehicle fitted with sirens.
The Officer seems to have had an animus against the charity over their motorcycles being fitted with blue lights. The charity conducts thousands of runs transporting blood, human tissue (including organs for transplant) and sterilised surgical tools. The only other time that they have been stopped by the Police was by the same officer!
The Officer was in a marked police car attending a broken-down car on the A38 near Buckfastleigh. He had two 15 year old girls in the back seat on work experience. When he saw the DFW motorcycle go past he accelerated from a standing start to catch the motorcycle with the children still in the back of his car. His vehicle was fitted with a VASCAR device – a rather dated piece of technology which can be used to effect a time/distance calculation. The Officer elected to use the VASCAR as a speedometer but failed to follow the guidelines relating to a “follow check.” His evidence was that he matched his speed to that of the bike and “glanced” at the VASCAR which read 105mph (his own speed). There was no evidence of a follow of at least 2/10th of a mile nor any evidence that the speedometer had been checked before or after the stop.
After a submission of no case to answer the District Judge said that she found the Police evidence weak and tenuous and dismissed the speeding charge.
After hearing from Daniel Lavery, the Chief Executive of Devon Freewheelers, she found that the motorcycle was covered by the exemptions from the rule against fitting sirens and acquitted the volunteer on that charge as well.
Devon Freewheelers is a thoroughly worthwhile charity whose volunteers ride thousands of miles in all conditions to ensure that blood, tissue and sterilised instruments arrive in time and intact. It takes pressure off a hard-pressed NHS and has indubitably saved many lives in the South West of England. If you wish to know more about this charity or to make a donation go to http://www.bloodbikesdevon.org.uk
Case DetailsCase Name: Devon Freewheelers Blood Bike Volunteer Acquitted On All Charges
Case Date: July 2018
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