Family's shock over ruling
9:02am Thursday 12th December 2013 in News
THE FAMILY of a couple from Barry who were victims of one of the UK’s worst road traffic accidents say they are shocked there is no case to answer.
Son Russell, 54, and daughter-in-law Tracey Adams, 50, said they were also angry about the judge’s decision to direct a Bristol Crown Court jury to find fireworks contractor Geoffrey Counsell, 51, not guilty of a single charge of failing to ensure the safety of others contrary to the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Grandparents Pamela and Tony Adams, formerly of Barry, were among seven people who died in the M5 crash following a pile-up involving 30 cars engulfed by a thick fog, on November 4, 2011.
Mr Justice Simon ruled on Tuesday that Mr Counsell had “no case to answer” following an application from the defendant’s barrister at the halfway point in the trial.
Russ and Tracey, of Hathaway Place, Cadoxton, said: “We were shocked.
“We can’t believe it – what’s the point in taking it to crown court, swearing in a jury and then halting the case himself before Mr Counsell has even taken the stand? He should take the stand, defend his actions and the prosecution ask questions.
“Surely it’s up to the jury to decide Mr Counsell’s fate?
“Despite strong evidence from all the witnesses, from those that were involved in the accident and people that saw what happened, video and CCTV evidence, weather experts’ evidence and emergency services, there is still ‘no case to answer’.
“We can’t believe it.”
The couple said they had been kept informed, by email, by the police liaison officer from Taunton about what has gone on in court as they had been unable to attend but they felt they hadn’t been told everything.
They said the judge had concluded the trial the day after they had discovered his decision.
They said: “We’ve no doubt other families and victims feel the same, shocked and angry about what has happened. We would have accepted a jury’s outcome easier even though we may not have liked it if he’d have been found not guilty. Just to halt the trial like this seems unfair.
“We have to accept what the judge has said, that no-one is to blame for the accident.”
Pamela and Tony Adams’ daughter Lyndy Devine, of Newcastle, said: “I’m stunned and shocked that this has happened and just don’t know what to say.
“We just have to accept what has happened in court.”
She added: “I hope we can eventually move on, but fear that we will always have an unrequited need for justice.”