A 97-year-old Oxford professor and war veteran who hit a nine-year-old child after running a red light on Botley Road has been let off with a fine.
Tony Honoré, a law professor and honorary fellow at All-Souls College, denied charges of dangerous driving but was found guilty in his absence at the Oxford Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
Honoré was charged with a £750 fine and a twelve month ban from driving for the offence. The court heard that the nine-year-old, Ragnar Cadogan, did not sustain serious injuries from February’s accident and has since made a full recovery.
Honoré failed a roadside eyesight test after officers arrived on the scene.
Finding him guilty of dangerous driving, District Judge Malcolm Dodds said: “There is no dispute that a red light was clearly displayed and there is no dispute that there are pedestrians crossing on a red light.
“The accident speaks for itself. That is powerful evidence of dangerous driving because how on earth could a reasonable, competent and careful driver travelling down Botley Road not be really obviously aware of a pedestrian crossing, pedestrians on the crossing and the red light?
“This isn’t a case of ‘oops, oh dear’, using the brakes and coming to a stop: he carries on for quite a period of time and what appears to be a state of oblivion as to what is going on.
“That is incredibly powerful evidence to a driver falling well below the standard of what is expected of a careful and competent driver.”
In mitigation, Honoré’s defense counsel said that the accident had taken a heavy toll on the professor, who said it was “the worst thing that happened to him in his life.”
Dodds added: “He said this was worse than the injury he suffered in the war [during the Battle of El Alamein, 1942].
“There aren’t many people left who fought in the Second World War and I suspect he is one of the very few survivors of that battle.
“The accident was terribly traumatic for [Ragnar’s mother] and the only good thing is that Ragnar suffered miraculously few injuries.”
Cherwell has contacted Tony Honoré for comment.