Acquittal for Nelson Guest Client in Driving Matter
A Nelson Guest client has been acquitted of drink driving in a case on the South Coast of England after a lengthy trial. The case was one where the defendant had always maintained that she had been terrified in the midst of an attack from her ex-partner and had left the scene in the car marginally over the limit.
She was found upset in the car in a country lane nearby with the engine off and crying. Somehow she had been prosecuted for the matter on the basis that even if she had left in fear initially, she could have stopped much prior to the country lane where she was eventually found. The matter was additionally stressful for the defendant given the potential jeopardy of a successful career in the NHS.
The client, who funded the case privately, had been referred to us by a previous client of the firm who was aware that we deal with numerous driving related matters. During proceedings the defendants case was handled by Alfie Cranmer and Ross Greig. Both reviewed the case and explained that in their view the case should never should have been prosecuted.
A number of disclosure requests eventually led to evidence being provided by the Crown that the defendants ex-partner had previous convictions for assaulting her and he had been arrested at the scene. The particulars of these were later helpful in proving that she had been terrified and indeed left on that basis. Cross examination of staff at the hotel where the incident happened eventually confirmed that the defendant had been left in a dark area of a car park alone with the person in question and she had no opportunity to escape. It was also evidenced that there had been damage to the defendants car from the person in question. There was also expert evidence given that the defendant had also been suffering from severe anxiety at the time in question. This was eventually never required given the weaknesses presented in the Crowns case.
Following closing speeches and direction towards various case law on the points in question the District Judge was persuaded that the proximity of the car when it stopped in reference to the hotel location was equivalent to a defence in law given all the evidence that he had heard. The defendant was acquitted and very pleased with the result.
The case goes to show how important obtaining advice early can be given that the client presumed that because she was just over the limit and had driven, she must have been guilty of the offence. Instead she was acquitted and retains her good character.
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