No verdict in case

A LORRY driver has an anxious wait to discover if he faces a retrial for allegedly causing the death of a cyclist after a jury failed to reach a verdict.

Paul Dove denies causing the death of Christopher Griffiths as a result of careless driving on the A19, near Billingham.

A jury at Teesside Crown Court was discharged yesterday afternoon after deliberating for five hours and 17 minutes.

During three days of evidence, the court heard that there was no disputing Dove was at the wheel of the Mercedes articulated lorry which crashed into Mr Griffiths, 50, from Wynyard, as he cycled along the margin of the road, to the left of the nearside rumble strip.

But Dove insisted his driving was careful at all times, and he had not veered onto the rumble strip.

Judge Peter Bowers told the jury they should only convict Dove if they were satisfied his driving was careless, and that carelessness had caused the crash.

Judge Bowers called the jury into court at about 4pm on Friday and asked the foreman if there was any possibility they could reach a verdict if given more time, either on Friday or on Monday morning.

The foreman replied there was no possibility of reaching a verdict.

Discharging the panel, Judge Bowers said: “These types of cases in particular are very difficult for a jury to deal with.”

Prosecutor Paul Cleasby said the Crown would need 14 days to decide if there is to be a retrial.

“We are keen to take the views of the victim’s family into account,” added Mr Cleasby.

Dove, 54, of Aldwych Square, Farringdon, denies causing death by careless driving on January 23, last year.

Judge Bowers granted him unconditional bail.