Sussex police officer admits careless driving during emergency call

A Sussex Police officer who knocked down a man on a pedestrian crossing while driving a marked car on the wrong side of the road has been given a conditional discharge after pleading guilty to careless driving.  

Jan 22, 2019
By Tony Thompson

PC Russell Kyle was responding to an emergency call that he believed involved a marauding terror attack. He was trying to get through traffic with his blue lights and sirens on when he crossed his Ford Mondeo onto the other side of the road and collided with 59-year-old South African tourist Gary Paterson, leaving him with three broken ribs and cuts on his face. 

The Brighton-based officer was originally prosecuted for dangerous driving, but the charge was later substituted for the lesser offence of careless driving. 

PC Kyle told Lewes Crown Court: “The first call was to a report of a fight, reports of a male brandishing an axe and reports of chairs and bottles thrown. At the second location, we were informed of somebody in possession of a hammer, a hatchet and somebody run over by a vehicle. It sounded like a marauding attack. It was a couple of months after the London Bridge attack and we were on high alert. It did feel potentially like it could be that sort of attack.” 

An IOPC spokesperson said: “The incident was referred to us on September 20, 2017, and an investigation was launched. We completed our investigation in March 2018 and referred a file to the Crown Prosecution Service who authorised the charge. We have also passed our final report, which concludes PC Kyle may have committed gross misconduct, to Sussex Police who have agreed and a misconduct hearing will be scheduled in due course.”  

Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Boniface, head of Sussex Police’s Professional Standards Department, said: “We expect the highest standards of our officers and staff in all aspects of their work. On rare occasions, a failure in these standards leads to a criminal charge and it is entirely right that this officer faced a public court in respect of the incident in which he was involved. Sussex Police will now undertake an independently chaired gross misconduct hearing that will consider whether any further sanctions should be applied.”

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