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Judge: fireworks organiser had "no reason to think it was a hazard"

The Judge presiding over the trial of an organiser of a firework display near the scene of a crash on the M5 said he had "no previous reason to think it was a hazard."

7 people died in the pile up on the motorway in 2011. Geoffrey Counsell was accused of failing to ensure the safety of others when smoke from a fireworks display blew onto the road before the crash.

But Judge Justice Simon directed the jury to return a verdict of not guilty.

The prosecution case required Mr Counsell to appreciate and react more or less instantly to something not thought to be a hazard to anyone and had no previous reason to think it was a hazard.He added: "There was no proper basis that you could have concluded that a reasonable person would have appreciated a reasonable risk and reacted to it to stop the display

– Judge Justice Simon


Fireworks contractor cleared over M5 motorway crash

Fireworks contractor Geoffrey Counsell, 51, who was in charge of a display held on the night of a massive crash on the M5 in Somerset in which seven people died and 51 were injured.

He was cleared of breaching health and safety laws today by a jury at Bristol Crown Court on the direction of a judge.