Man 'not guilty' of selling death crash bike

Man cleared of selling unroadworthy motorcycle later involved in fatal smash

A MAN has been found not guilty by a Devonshire court of illegally selling an unroadworthy motorbike that was later involved in a fatal crash.

Geoffrey Hibbert, 62, Paignton, was cleared following a trial at Torquay Magistrates' Court.

Mr Hibbert pleaded not guilty to supplying an 1100cc Honda Goldwing to Michael Boughton, 56, in an unroadworthy condition.

Five days after the sale was agreed, Mr Boughton rode the machine from Mr Hibbert's house but was killed shortly after, when the former police officer lost control of the bike, hitting a road sign at Whisty Hill, near Ashburton, on August 4 2009, reports the South Devon Herald Express.

Mr Hibbert denied he had not told Mr Boughton about the bike's mechanical shortcomings.

"I was an innocent party and the guy knew exactly what he was buying," said Mr Hibbert.

Following the fatal crash, a Police vehicle examiner found the bike had a faulty front brake system with no hydraulic brake fluid, the front and rear tyres were under-inflated. The Honda's suspension was also called into question.

"I told him there were no front brakes and the front end wanted sorting out and there was no air in the front forks, but he was determined," said Mr Hibbert.

Delivering his verdict, chairman of the bench Martin Bartlett-Judge said: "The facts agreed in the case are that you did sell the bike and the bike was in an unroadworthy condition. The facts in dispute are when the supply took place and whether you told the purchaser that the vehicle was in an unroadworthy condition.

"We find you gave clear and credible evidence and that was consistent with your evidence to the police. You told us that the bike was sold as a project and in an unroadworthy condition at the time of sale.

"You believed the purchaser wouldn't drive away with the vehicle until it had been made roadworthy, so we are satisfied that on the balance of probabilities, the statutory defence is made out and we find you not guilty," he said.