Wednesday 27 January 2010

Dear Chief Crown Prosecutor - An open letter

Dear Mr Crowley,

R v Hart Peterborough Crown Court 27th January 2010

I write as a keen cyclist with a particular interest in the law as it relates to cyclists.

I have learnt of the conviction of Ms Katie Hart of the offence of causing death by dangerous driving on the A1 near St Neots last May 3rd when she ran down Major Rhys-Evans.

As a consequence I want to thank your office, the relevant crown prosecutor and the police concerned for the attention that has been given to this case. I particularly congratulate you for the principled and, as the jury have now demonstrated, correct decision not to accept a plea to the lesser offence of causing death by careless driving. This is a significant step towards increasing the safety of cyclists on the roads.

I am particularly anxious to give credit where it is due as I have been critical of decisions taken by other offices of the CPS not to prosecute drivers who have killed cyclists; particularly in the cases of Marie Vesco in Sussex and Anthony Maynard in Oxfordshire, both killed in summer 2008. It would, I suggest, be useful if you were able to disseminate your experiences from the Hart case to your colleagues throughout the country. The reassuring truth is that juries can and do recognise bad driving when the evidence is put before them. All too often, it appears, the evidence has not, in past cases, been put before a jury because of an unwarranted fear that they will not convict.

Yours sincerely,

1 comment:

  1. The reply:
    Dear Mr Porter
    Katherine Pinato has forwarded your letter of yesterdays date for which I am grateful. It is reassuring to hear that good work by the CPS is recognised by the public. The case was handled and prosecuted throughout by John Goodier a Crown Advocate of this office, and demonstrates the benefit of continuity of case ownership from advice stage through to trial. As you will I am sure realise the sentence has been adjourned so it is perhaps prudent to refrain from further comment at this point but I have passed on your kind remarks to John Goodier and his manager.
    Many thanks
    Richard Crowley
    Chief Crown Prosecutor

    Comment: good of him to reply so promptly. I would have liked him to say that he would spread the message amongst his fellow chief crown prosecutors, rather than his veiled attack on the independent bar ('continuity of case ownership').