The Malta Independent 9 December 2019, Monday

Driver jailed, has licence suspended after causing death of pedestrian

Wednesday, 13 November 2019, 12:21 Last update: about 25 days ago

A court has sentenced a motorist to six months imprisonment and disqualified him from driving for causing the death of a pedestrian in 2016.

36-year-old Joseph Piscopo had been driving his BMW in Msida during the evening of August 21, 2016 when he struck 79 year-old Salvatore Attard as he was crossing the road.

Piscopo had argued that the victim had not been crossing from a designated crossing spot and had done so negligently, leaving the motorist unable to avoid hitting him.

Magistrate Doreen Clarke, in her judgment on the case, had observed that the road surface was dry and that there were no skid marks on the tarmac. The magistrate also noted that the elderly pedestrian was three quarters of the way across when he was struck by the BMW.

The car was also badly damaged in the incident, which threw Attard over 18 metres from the point of impact.

Visibility at the time was good, noted the court.

Motorists were duty bound to be extra careful when approaching traffic lights or pedestrian crossings, said the magistrate. Moreover, drivers had to maintain situational awareness and not just look straight ahead, keeping tabs on what is happening from one side of the road to the other.

Although Attard had not crossed the road on the pedestrian crossing when safe to do so, this did not mean that he was responsible for what happened, said the court.

Piscopo had been speeding, said Clarke, and had failed to forsee the danger or reduce his speed when seeing the man crossing the road. It was “amply clear” that the cause of the accident was the accused’s negligence and not the fact that Attard crossed a short distance away from a pedestrian crossing.

In her considerations on punishment the Magistrate noted that the accused was an experienced driver and already had a conviction for dangerous driving. She observed, however, that the victim’s negligence had played a part in his own death.

The court sentenced the accused to six months imprisonment and disqualified him from driving for five years. He was also ordered to pay €2,000 in court costs.

Lawyers Joseph Giglio and Sarah Mifsud appeared parte civile for the victim’s family.

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