A psychiatrist who killed an 87-year-old man in a collision was partially sighted and had previously used a driver, a court has heard.
Ahmed Darwish, 69, is accused of causing the death of Kenneth Rees by dangerous driving following a collision in Bridgend on May 20, 2019.
Grandfather Mr Rees suffered a catastrophic head injury after being struck by Darwish’s Mercedes E250 in Litchard Hill, and died shortly later at the Princess of Wales Hospital.
It is claimed Darwish, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, did not see the pedestrian due to having none or limited peripheral vision in his right eye as a result of a brain hemorrhage he suffered in 1999.
Speaking at a trial at Cardiff Crown Court on Tuesday, prosecutor Julia Cox described the collision as a “tragic case”.
She added: “Kenneth Rees came from Ahmed Darwish’s right hand side, the area where he had no peripheral vision and did not see him. The prosecution say he would have had sufficient time to do so and a careful and competent driver and would have done so.
“Ahmed Darwish stated at the scene he did not see Kenneth Rees until Mr Rees hit his vehicle. The prosecution say given the limitations Mr Darwish knew he had, he should not have been driving and would have had to take significant steps to ensure he was driving safely, to continually check his right hand side.”
The court heard Mr Rees, who used a walking stick, left his home at 8am and was walking towards a bus stop in Litchard Hill with plans of visiting Cardiff, as Darwish was driving to work at the Princess of Wales Hospital. The collision occurred as Mr Rees crossed the road at the junction with Bryn Llydiard.
Travelling behind the defendant was Darren Jones, who saw Mr Rees cross the road at the junction. He noticed Darwish was not reacting and sounded his horn and shouted out of his window.
Ms Cox added: “Mr Rees vanished from Mr Jones’ sight for a split second and it was then he saw Mr Rees airborne above the Mercedes on the passenger side and it was then the break lights were illuminated. Mr Rees landed on the side of the road, half on the pavement and half on a grass verge.”
An ambulance was called but paramedics realised on arrival that Mr Rees was in a critical condition having suffered multiple injuries to his head, face and limbs. Resuscitation was carried out before Mr Rees was transferred to hospital but he suffered a cardiac arrest and his death was confirmed at 9.30am.
A post mortem revealed he had suffered significant injuries to the left side of his body, which was recorded as the cause of his death.
Darwish was spoken to by police at the scene, and told them “I just saw him when the vehicle hit him” and “”It was quiet and first thing I knew was the body on the car”.
Ms Cox said collision investigators came to the conclusion Mr Rees was six metres into the road at the point of contact and had been in the carriageway four seconds before he was struck. The Mercedes would have been driving at 30mph at point of impact and had travelled 54m before hitting Mr Rees.
In reference to Darwish’s background, Ms Cox said the defendant was left with “significant right side deficiencies” as a result of a brain hemorrhage in 1999 and was registered as partially sighted. She said he was not initially allowed to hold a driving licence but was granted a licence in 2006 having undergone tests and was considered an “exceptional case”.
In an application to the Department for Work and Pensions for personal independence payments, Darwish said he had been diagnosed with homonymous hemianopia, and used the services of a secretary, software and a driver, saying he found it difficult to drive by himself due to his visual restrictions.
Concluding her opening, Ms Cox said: “Mr Darwish had knowledge of his eyesight, he couldn’t see anything from his right, where Mr Rees came from, and knew that driving in these circumstances was dangerous. He was required as a careful and competent driver to consider whether he was able to drive and the prosecution say what he was telling the authorities regarding his personal independence payments was accurate and he fell far below that of a careful and competent driver. His driving caused the death of Mr Rees.”
The trial continues.