On Wednesday in Parliament Gerald Jones, Labour MP for Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney, presented a Bill calling for a change in the Road Traffic Act to allow driving offences taking place on private land to be prosecuted, following the tragic death of his constituents’ one-year-old daughter Pearl Black, who was killed by a runaway vehicle in Merthyr Tydfil in 2017.
In August 2017 in Heolgerrig, Merthyr Tydfil, Pearl Black was killed when an unoccupied car rolled across a road and demolished a wall which fell on her and injured her father and brother.
Although the incident occurred on public land, the car had started its descent on a private driveway and a loophole in the law means that the legislation does not apply in this case. Now, Gerald is calling for a change in the law to enable driving offences taking place on private land to be prosecuted in the same way as public roads, and to try to avoid tragic situations like this in future.
During the session in Parliament the Bill was passed, with support from a wide range of MPs from across political parties, and a second reading date for the Bill set for 15th January 2021.
Speaking after presenting the Bill to Parliament on Wednesday, Gerald said:
“This Bill today marks a big day for Pearl’s parents Paul and Gemma’s campaign to secure this change in the law, and I’m pleased to have been able to bring it forward and see it pass the first hurdle today.
“During the past two years I’ve met with Pearl’s parents, Paul and Gemma, spoken in Parliament and held meetings with Government ministers to work towards getting this law changed, so that we can help to ensure no other family is forced to go through a tragedy like this again, or endure the pain of losing a loved one in this way and being unable to secure justice or prosecution.
“While I appreciate that the Bill today can’t bring justice for Pearl, if it can help to bring about a change in the legislation then it may give some comfort to Paul and Gemma, with the knowledge that nobody who is at fault for a driving offence taking place on private land will be able to use this loophole and avoid justice, and that we have taken a big step towards helping to ensure this can never happen again.”
“The law should cover what happened, and where it happens should not be a material factor in cases like this.”
Welcoming the news of the Bill being passed, Gemma and Paul Black said:
“We are so relieved that the first hurdle towards changing the outdated law that allowed the owner of the vehicle that caused Pearl’s death to go unpunished has been overcome. A law change will be too late for us, but it will stop any other family from experiencing the added heartbreak of having no accountability for their loved ones death.
We are so grateful to Gerald for all his hard work on this – and we are prepared for whatever it takes to see this amendment through to fruition – for Pearl.”