'Unreliable' evidence causes death crash trial to collapse
A TRIAL of a man accused of killing a pedestrian has collapsed after it was discovered some of the evidence was "unreliable".
Jamie Smith, aged 24, of Millbank, in Neath, was on trial at Swansea Crown Court accused of causing the death of 23-year-old Kyle Simpkins.
But partway through the trial the jury were told the timing of the 999 call — which was crucial to the prosecution case — could not be relied upon. The prosecution barrister told the revelation was "staggering".
The Post understands other cases where timings of 999 calls have led to convictions could now need to be reviewed.
The prosecution had alleged Mr Smith was using his mobile phone without a hands-free kit when the incident occurred as Mr Simpkins walked along Fabian Way in February 2012.
They had matched the phone records of Mr Smith with the timing of a 999 call made by a passing taxi driver at 00.40.25am who said he made the call 30 to 60 seconds after seeing the accident.
Prosecutor John Hipkin said a manager from the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust contacted the prosecution last Sunday and said the recorded time was "subject to drift" and the time that should be relied upon was 00.41.17am.
That would have put Mr Smith on his phone while near the Sainsbury's supermarket and not at the accident site near the Village Hotel.
Mr Hipkin said the prosecution would offer no further evidence against Mr Smith and not guilty verdicts were recorded for both charges of causing death by dangerous driving and an alternative of careless driving.
He said on May 23, 2012, the Welsh Ambulance Service confirmed the time of the 999 call which was also checked by South Wales Police who confirmed it was accurate.
Mr Hipkin told the jury: "The fact, ladies and gentlemen, that the timing of a 999 call being unreliable is staggering. It's a matter of genuine public concern. Issues will be raised."
Mr Hipkin said: "In all this, the family of Kyle Simpkins, have behaved with total and utter dignity. Our thoughts are with them, and they cannot and do not feel that they can be present today as I outline this to you."
South Wales Police said they were aware of the case and their thoughts were with the family.
Siobhan Blake, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor said: "It is also our duty to ensure that the entirety of evidence is reviewed again, to ensure that the evidential and public interest requirements laid out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors continue to be met. In this case, we recently received new information which cast doubt on the accuracy of the recorded timing of the 999 call to the ambulance service. Our subsequent case review concluded that, as a result, there was no longer sufficient evidence to support the prosecution case."