The driver of a van who knocked a 14-year-old boy off his bicycle at a junction in St. Martin in March 2020 has failed in her bid to halt criminal proceedings against her.
Julia Strachan is accused of causing serious injury while driving a motor vehicle without due care or attention, which she denies.
At a hearing last month, Mrs Strachan argued that there had been an abuse of process by the prosecution and the case should be discontinued.
Her legal counsel, Advocate Howard Sharp, said that she could not be fairly tried because the police and Law Officers’ Department had previously decided three times that she should not be prosecuted.
Advocate Sharp said that the prosecution had failed to disclose evidence and, in deciding to charge Mrs Strachan, it had capitulated under pressure from the boy’s family and to spare embarrassment for the police.
Pictured: The case was heard in the Magistrate's Court.
However, giving her decision today, Magistrate Bridget Shaw rejected all defence arguments. The case will therefore go to trial.
Mrs Shaw said that the prosecution had the right to change its mind should new evidence become available – which in this case included a mobile phone screenshot taken two seconds after the collision.
The Magistrate said that while it was “very unfortunate for Mrs Strachan, personally” that she should be charged after being told three times that she would not be, the overriding principal was that cases should be fully investigated.
She added that the decision to prosecute had been reviewed by an independent barrister.
The judge said that there was no evidence of impropriety, bad faith or misconduct by the police, the prosecution or the boy’s family, who had commissioned their own investigation of the accident.
“There is nothing wrong with the family having strong feelings or making those feelings known,” she said.
The Magistrate also allowed a new report by a police accident investigator to be admitted as evidence in the forthcoming trial, which will take place on 1 June.
The defence had argued that the report’s author had reframed the boy’s evidence to appease the boy’s family, but this was rejected by Mrs Shaw, who said that the claim was “baseless”.
Mrs Strachan does not deny that she was driving the van which hit the boy but disputes that she was responsible for the accident.
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