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News and Events

Call for review of road traffic laws following 11 year olds death

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The family of a Leeds schoolboy who was killed by a tractor have made an impassioned plea for the Government to change road traffic laws.

Gary Green was reversing the tractor and slurry trailer at Swithens Farm, Rothwell, when he struck Harry Whitlam, aged 11. The boy died a few hours later.

Following the incident at the tourist attraction, in August 2013, Mr Green was arrested and found to be twice over the legal limit for alcohol.

But because drink-drive laws only apply to public roads, police officers were unable to charge the 50-year-old.

After an inquest jury returned a narrative verdict last week, Harry’s mother Pamela said that the law needed to be changed.

“It has been extremely distressing for the family to hear the evidence given today,” she said.

“It is a legal anomaly that because the accident took place on private property there can be
no prosecution. The family believe that there should be a change in the law regarding this.

Ian Broadhead, owner of Swithens Farm, expressed his sorrow outside the Coroner’s Court.

Although he disputed the suggestion that Mr Green being over the legal limit had played a part in the accident.

“I don’t think that made the slightest bit of difference. How many people go to work in a morning after having had a drink the night before?”

Coroner Kevin McLaughlin described the incident as a “tragedy”, although he confirmed to the jury that the vast majority of traffic offences could only be committed on a public road.

“The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) did site visits and identified that the location wasn’t classed as a public road and as such the police were unable to prosecute,” he added.

Lester Morrill’s road traffic team can advise people facing charges relating to drink driving and advise on the options available. For further advice from our Leeds-based solicitors, please contact us today.