Jailed traffic officer has conviction quashed 30/6/2009 -The case of R V Bannister

October 12, 2009

A TRAFFIC officer who was jailed after being found guilty of dangerous driving had his conviction quashed by the Court of Appeal. Sergeant Craig Bannister, 30, of Briton Ferry, Neath, South Wales, was present at the Court of Appeal in London to hear three judges substitute a conviction for careless driving. Bannister was originally sentenced to five months on March 18 after earlier being found guilty of dangerous driving by a jury at Cardiff Crown Court. He served 20 days before he was released on bail in April pending his conviction challenge.

At a hearing at the Court of Appeal on June 10 the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, adjourned Bannister’s conviction appeal until today, but ruled that a fine and not a custodial sentence should have been imposed in his case. Lord Judge and two other senior judges quashed his sentence of imprisonment and – taking into account the fact that he had served time in jail – imposed a “nominal” penalty of £50. The conviction appeal resumed before Lord Justice Thomas, Mr Justice Collins and Mr Justice Owen, who quashed the dangerous driving conviction. They ruled that Bannister must pay the £50 fine, but reduced a driving ban imposed on him from two years to three months. He has already completed that period, meaning that he is no longer disqualified. He does not have to take a re-test.

Bannister, who qualified as an advanced police driver a month before the accident, was driving on the M4 near Swansea when his BMW 5 series spun out of control. He received minor injuries when the car flew through the air on the night of January 13, 2008, after hitting water at 113mph. The crown court heard Bannister was stood down from an emergency call shortly before joining the motorway, but continued to drive at high speeds, reaching more than 120mph. Bannister was described as being of previous “exemplary” character and earned commendations for his work with South Wales Police. During his trial he claimed his speed was appropriate for the weather conditions, and that he was trying to find a safe place to turn off his blue lights after being stood down from the emergency call. The judges said they will announce their reasons for quashing the conviction at a later date.



  1. Justice would have been done if the white glove of police influence had no hand in it.

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