Commercial Law: Problem Analysis

You have received the following memorandum from your supervisor lawyer in the Commercial department.

From: Francis Morris
To: [You]
Client: Dr. Nathan Giles
Matter: Road Accident

Dr. Nathan Giles is a long-standing client of the Commercial department who has been told that he needs to attend an interview under caution at his local police station one evening next week after he was involved in a road accident 5 nights ago. The police officer who spoke to him on the telephone did not say what offence he is alleged to have committed other than that he „did not comply with his duties after the accident“. There is no suggestion that there were any issues with the standard of his driving, his vehicle was fully roadworthy and he had all the required documentation to allow him to drive it.

I’ve told him that someone from our Criminal department will attend the police station with him so he needs no further advice on police station procedure. I have through said that I will get back to him with some preliminary advice on what offence(s) the police may be considering and whether he is likely to be guilty of them. All of the solicitors in the criminal department are currently at court so I would be grateful if you could do the research and prepare a report for me so that I can give him a preliminary view on those issues before he has to go to the police station.
He was driving along Camp Rock Road across Cannock Charles Chase in Stonewood (Staffordshire) 5 nights ago when he clipped a deer after it leapt out into the path of his car. He only made slight contact and he is pretty sure that the deer was not badly injured as after the collision it ran off into the trees. There was minor damage to one wing of his car. He slightly sprained his wrist when the steering wheel jolted in his hands, but it was fine after a couple of days.

After the accident he immediately stopped the car on the grass verge, got out and inspected it for damage. He left the engine running and put the hazard lights on. While he was out of the car, his daughter, who was in the passenger seat (and uninjured by the collision) lent into the back of the car to get a Thermos of coffee from his holdall. She somehow released the handbrake and, as a result, the car rolled backwards and just clipped a sign next to the road. The sign had been erected by the county council and was for a public car park which lay down the adjacent track. The sign has snapped off at the base of its post so he propped it back up against a fence. Dr. Giles says it looked just the same as it was before, just a little further back to the road. There was now a dent in the rear bumper of the car in addition to the dent caused by hitting the deer. Dr. Giles was in a hurry so got back in the car and drove off, thinking there was nothing else he could do.

He assumed he did not have any duties as a result of the accident as:
• The deer did not appear to be seriously injured;
• He had not been in the driving seat when the sign was knocked over;
• No-one else was injured; and
• It was night-time in an isolated area and the road appeared to be deserted.

However, he now thinks that someone must have seen him leave and noted down his distinctive registration (DR 51MMS) before reporting him to the police.
As I said, Dr. Nathan Giles wants to know what offence(s) the police may be considering and whether he is likely to be guilty of them. Can you please research the issues that arise from these facts and prepare a brief report. There are quite a few things to research here. Therefore, please use the form of problem analysis report so that your research on each area is set out separately.
I do not need you to check any sentencing guidelines or anything to do with interviews under caution.

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