‘Not proven’ verdict for motorist accused of causing death of 85-year-old man in Stirling

The case against a motorist charged with causing the death of a Stirling man in his eighties in a city road accident was this week found not proven.

Building site supervisor 33-year-old Mateusz Salamaj had been accused of failing to notice Chris Morrison as the 85-year-old crossed Cowane Street on December 13, 2019.

The front of his Renault Megane hit Mr Morrison who was thrown against the car and onto the road, and died at the scene.

Prosecutors alleged that the accident happened because Mr Salamaj’s car, while otherwise in good working order, had a “grimy” windscreen which restricted his view.

Falkirk Sheriff Court heard, however, that police accident investigators had not had the right conditions to replicate the low sun glare which, it was alleged, exacerbated the effect of a “slight” film of road grime found on the Megane’s windscreen, which also had an empty windscreen washer reservoir at the time of the accident which occurred at 10.38am.

Mr Salamaj was said to be “distraught” after the accident. In evidence, it was said that he could see clearly through his windscreen despite the sun, and Mr Morrison had “appeared” suddenly in the middle of the road.

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He braked and turned the wheel to try to avoid him, but a collision was unavoidable.

Solicitor Neil Robertson, defending, said that since Mr Morrison had not seen Mr Salamaj’s car – and nor had Mr Salamaj seen Mr Morrison – it was probable that both of them had their view of each other obscured by another vehicle.

Mr Robertson said: “There but for the grace of God go I, could be used to describe this.

“The accident, for Mr Salamaj, was unavoidable. He was not to blame.”

The accident, in which an 85-year-old man was killed, happened in Cowane Street, Stirling

Salamaj, a father-of-one, of Whitburn, West Lothian, pleaded not guilty to causing the death of Mr Morrison by careless driving.

On Wednesday this week, after a five-day trial, a jury took less than 30 minutes to find the charge not proven.

Sheriff Derek Hamilton told Mr Salamaj: “You have been acquitted of this charge and you’re free to leave the dock.”

He added, to jurors: “I don’t make any apology for the time this case has taken, because these were very important issues, to the accused, and the deceased’s family.”

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