A short-sighted taxi driver was not wearing his glasses and thought he had hit a sheep when he knocked down a young father-to-be and left him for dead.

Abul Hussain struck father-to-be Jack Brandon, 22, after dropping passengers off in Hassocks.

Mr Brandon, from Hassocks, was walking home after a friend’s wedding reception when he was struck by Hussain in New Road near Ditchling at 12.47am on July 3 last year.

CCTV showed that Hussain, 55, was not wearing his glasses while driving down the 60mph road and had already driven past Mr Brandon 90 seconds before.

Father-of-four Hussain thought he had hit a “sheep or deer” and drove back to his home in Stapley Road, Hove, without stopping at the scene.

The Argus: Jack Brandon died months before the birth of his daughterJack Brandon died months before the birth of his daughter

He said he did not stop because it was “dangerous to stop there” on a national speed limit road.

Mr Brandon was found dead at the side of the road at 11am that day. He had been walking in the same direction as traffic westbound.

Hussain’s Peugeot Horizon was found in his driveway three days after the crash with damage to the passenger side headlight, windscreen and wing mirror.

Hussain was found guilty by a bench of lay magistrates at Brighton Magistrates’ Court during a seven hour trial today.

The court heard that Hussain, now of Downside in Shoreham, could only read a number plate 4.9 metres away without his glasses, a quarter of the 20 metres required by the DVLA.

Piers Restell, prosecuting, said: “The defendant has already passed Mr Brandon and 90 seconds later returns after dropping off a fare up the road.

“Most probably the collision would have occurred even if the defendant were to have had glasses.

“With better vision, the driver would have been able to identify Mr Brandon and not think it was a sheep or deer.

“It is clear that they will be able to see that Mr Brandon was a person.”

The Argus: The court heard that Hussain saw Mr Brandon just over a second before hitting him The court heard that Hussain saw Mr Brandon just over a second before hitting him

Detective constable Simon Rideout was brought in as an expert.

He said Hussain’s eyesight was “well below the required level” and Mr Brandon placed himself in a “position of vulnerability”.

DC Rideout said that from the dashcam footage, it is clear the driver “would be able to see Mr Brandon was a person”.

The court was shown a still image of the second before Mr Brandon was struck.

The court also heard that it was dark, the road was narrow and bordered by hedges and grass verges.

Richard Saynor, defending, said there was nothing to suggest that Hussain was driving dangerously at the time of the crash. His speed was between 40 to 45mph.

He said there was just over one second between Mr Brandon being visible and the accident occurring. The defence said it takes two seconds to emergency break.

Addressing the bench, Mr Saynor said: “You have to conclude his driving was careless. That the accident was unavoidable, it would have happened if he had glasses on or if someone had 20/20 vision.”

Mr Restell disagreed and argued that knowing he needed glasses to drive “falls below the standard to be a safe, competent driver”.

He added: “Is it right that a taxi driver goes around with an inability to see while driving?"

Hussain said he did not believe he had hit a pedestrian when he left the scene.

Asked why he was not wearing his glasses, Hussain said: “Since Covid I have experienced that when I wear glasses and a mask, steam comes out and fogs up the glasses. It became my habit. Sometimes I wear them, sometimes I did not wear.”

Hussain was charged with failing to stop, failing to report an accident and alternative charges of dangerous and careless driving. 

Chairwoman of the bench Joanna Brown said: “We find as a fact that there is a presumption of adequate vision to drive. You have impaired vision and require glasses to drive. On the night in question you drove without your glasses.

“To drive without glasses falls far below the standard of a competent driver. We do not find to be credible your account in giving evidence today.

"You failed to stop and you failed to report an accident."

They referenced the expert evidence, dashcam footage and said the damage to the car was consistent with hitting a person.

Hussain has been given an interim ban from driving until his sentencing.

He will be sentenced on December 13 at Brighton Magistrates’ Court.