MAY 15, 2004
Jonathan Palmer has responded to yesterday's reports from Portugal following his conviction arising from a road accident in Portugal in 1996.
"I wanted to familiarise myself with the car and roads so took out the right hand drive Honda car provided for the purpose," Palmer says. "I drove off normally, with no traffic around. After less than half a mile, as I approached a right hand corner I saw a Ford Sierra Cosworth car coming towards me, fast, on what appeared to be its correct side of the road. The Sierra then appeared to run wide, moving onto my side of the road, and approaching me head on. I could not believe what I was seeing, and braked hard, praying for the Sierra to move back on to the other side of the road. It didn't and we collided. After the accident I was very agitated and remember repeatedly exclaiming "he was on the wrong side of the road!" To my great distress, I soon realised that it was actually me who had been on the wrong side of the road at the time of the collision. I had completely forgotten I was in Portugal and should have driven on the right, not the left, and was mislead by the right hand drive configuration of the Honda car. Unfortunately the initial positioning of the Sierra, as its driver cut the corner coming towards me, did not alert me to my mistake either.
"I am relieved that the case has been concluded as it has been constantly on my mind for the last seven years, but I appreciate that Mr Slattum's family continues to suffer as a result of my mistake. I cannot express too strongly my sorrow and remorse."
Palmer's lawyers are considering an appeal.
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