Police were yesterday criticised for the way they investigated a fatal crash in the north-east.
Pauline Flynn’s defence team claimed police “forgot” protocol as they tried to piece together what happened on the A952 Toll of Birness to Mintlaw road on October 3, 2014.
The 36-year-old is on trial at Peterhead Sheriff Court, accused of causing the death of former art teacher Harry McPherson by driving carelessly at Clola.
Flynn, of 3 Sutherland Close, Mintlaw, is alleged to have veered on to the wrong side of the road and hit Mr McPherson’s Vauxhall Corsa.
The 61-year-old died at the scene and his partner Patricia, who was a passenger in his car, suffered serious leg and head injuries.
Flynn had been travelling to Aberdeen to pick up her then boyfriend, and after the crash told police that Mr McPherson was driving in the middle of the road.
But lead crash scene investigator, Sergeant Kelly Manson, told the jury on Wednesday that she was confident it had been Flynn who was on the wrong side of the road.
Yesterday, the sergeant returned to the dock and was quizzed by Flynn’s defence agent, Susan Duff, for the way the investigation was carried out.
In her cross-examination, Mrs Duff criticised her for not taking photographs of the underside of Flynn’s vehicle to prove the Ford Focus C-Max had travelled back into the southbound lane following the smash.
“We didn’t feel the need to try to lift or turn the vehicle,” Sgt Manson said.
“The engine block wasn’t in the vehicle anymore. We couldn’t actually get it onto one of the mechanic’s jacks.
“I stand by my judgement.”
Mrs Duff asked if the sergeant had “forgot” protocol and failed to find where grass – which was lodged into the underside of Mr McPherson’s vehicle – had come from.
But Sgt Manson told her that when they arrived at the scene, paramedics and fire crews had gear covering the grass and were in the process of removing both Flynn and Mr McPherson’s partner from their vehicles.
“Preserving life comes first,” she added.
“I have to wait until these people are finished before I can survey the area.”
The Crown closed their case against Flynn yesterday, after reading the jury a joint minute of agreement which detailed the injuries of all three.
He told the court that Mr McPherson died at the scene after suffering multiple injuries – including a skull fracture and a laceration on his heart – and that his partner Patricia suffered a traumatic brain injury, fractured left clavicle, pelvis and elbow.
Flynn, meanwhile, suffered a fractured tibia, fibula, ribs and a punctured lung.
The defence will begin their evidence today. The trial continues.