It has been confirmed that neither the driver of the London Tramlink tram which derailed at Sandilands on 9th November 2016 leading to the tragic passing of seven passengers nor Trams Operations Limited or Transport for London will be charged following the conclusion of the lengthy investigation into the derailment.
The report into the derailment by the RAIB had come to the conclusion that driver Alfred Dorris had fallen into a microsleep shortly before the tram derailed on the curve leading to Sandilands which led to the tram travelling at a significantly higher speed than the limit in this location. Now after a thorough investigation the Crown Prosecution Service have come to the decision that Mr Dorris should not be charged with gross negligence manslaughter as there is a lack of evidence available. The same investigation also decided not to charge either Tram Operations Limited or Transport for London with corporate manslaughter.
The investigation – which has taken very nearly three years to complete – included forensic work at the scene and afterwards, analysis of phone records, hundreds of interviews and thousands of individual pieces of evidence.
In making the announcement Detective Superintendent, Gary Richardson, who led the investigation, said: “For the past three years, my team have been working to uncover exactly what happened on the morning of 9 November 2016. This has involved simulating the circumstances of the derailment, speaking with hundreds of witnesses and collecting thousands of individual pieces of evidence. It has been a complex investigation undertaken by the Force. We know that this latest update may not be the news that many, including the family members who lost loved ones, had hoped for. But we are satisfied that every scrap of possible evidence has been scrutinised and, after lengthy consultation with the CPS, it has been concluded that the threshold to bring charges of manslaughter against the tram driver, TfL and Tram Operations Ltd, have not been met. Since November 2016, we’ve been working alongside the Office of Rail and Road who continue investigate whether Health and Safety legislation was breached during this incident. We will also work with HM Coroner to begin the process of preparing for the inquests of the seven people who lost their lives. Those seven men and women, along with their loved ones, and every person affected by the events on that morning, are very much still at the forefront of our minds.”
Jenny Hopkins, Head of the CPS Criminal Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said: “The Croydon tram crash has had a devastating effect on the local community, especially the families and friends of the seven people who so tragically lost their lives. The CPS has carefully reviewed all the available material in this case in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and concluded that the evidence does not support a prosecution of the driver for the offence of gross negligence manslaughter. We considered other criminal offences but the evidence did not support a prosecution. We fully recognise the impact this decision will have on families who have lost their loved ones and we have offered to meet with them to explain our reasons in full. Our thoughts remain with everybody affected by this tragedy.”
In assessing whether to charge Mr Dorris the CPS also looked at whether charges should be brought including causing death by dangerous or careless driving, wanton and furious driving and endangering the safety of a person on the railway. In all cases it was decided there was not enough evidence available to bring charges.
The CPS press release goes into more detail about the assessment of the evidence and explains reasons behind their decision. This can be viewed at https://www.cps.gov.uk/cps/news/cps-statement-croydon-tram-crash-charging-decision.