As widely reported, the pilot who was flying the plane which crashed at the Shoreham Air Show killing eleven people has been acquitted of gross negligence manslaughter.

Steven Micklewright of Kangs Solicitors, who is a qualified pilot, outlines the position.

The Circumstances | Kangs Aviation Law Advisory Solicitors

  • On the 22nd August 2015, a former RAF pilot Andrew Hill was performing an aerobatic display when the ex-military jet he was flying crashed onto the A27 in Sussex.
  • Whilst Mr Hill survived the crash, having been thrown from the wreckage upon impact, eleven people sadly lost their lives.
  • Mr Hill was subsequently charged with eleven counts of manslaughter by gross negligence and his trial took place at the Old Bailey.

Gross Negligence Manslaughter | Kangs Criminal Law Advisory Team

Gross negligence manslaughter arises where an individual, ostensibly, is acting lawfully but his actions cause death in circumstances where he neither intended to cause death or serious bodily harm but does so as the result of a grossly negligent act or omission.

In order for the Prosecution to prove gross negligence manslaughter, it must show, beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. there existed a duty of care to the deceased;
  2. there was a breach of that duty of care which
  • caused (or significantly contributed) to the death of the victim; and
  • the breach should be characterised as gross negligence, and, therefore, a crime.

The Trial | Kangs Solicitors Aviation Offences Team

  • The Prosecution alleged that Mr Hill, albeit an experienced military and commercial pilot took a ‘cavalier’ approach to his display on the day in question and that he flew too low and too slow to enable the manoeuvre to be conducted safely.
  • Mr Hill maintained that he ‘blacked out’ having experienced ‘cognitive impairment’ brought on by hypoxia, possibly due to the effects of G-force.
  • The Old Bailey jury deliberated for seven hours over three days before returning verdicts of ‘Not Guilty’ on all eleven counts.

How Can We Help? | Kangs General Aviation Law Solicitors

Not only is Steven Micklewright of Kangs Solicitors a qualified solicitor but he also holds a full EASA Private Pilot’s Licence, offering a unique insight into the complex Air Navigation Order and Rules of the Air

Steven’s dual pilot/solicitor qualification places him in the perfect position to represent pilots facing Prosecution by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Steven is able to represent pilots from the start of the investigation process all the way through to the Prosecution and, ultimately, any appearances in the Criminal Courts.

Who Can I Contact For Help? | Kangs Aviation Offences Defence Solicitors

If you are a pilot who faces an investigation or prosecution by the CAA, then please feel free to contact Steven Micklewright who will be happy to provide you with some initial advice and assistance.

Contact:

Steven Micklewright
smicklewright@kangssolicitors.co.uk
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396