Berkshire

CPS errors prevent Reading crash-drive prosecution

A Reading man injured in a car accident said he feels "aggrieved" that mistakes by lawyers let the uninsured driver who crashed into him avoid prosecution.

Jon Barber said he still suffers back and neck injuries from the crash in the Berkshire town in January.

The Crown Prosecution Service has admitted losing paperwork and failing to get a warrant for the man's arrest.

Thames Valley Chief Crown Prosecutor Baljit Ubhey said: "We have extended our sincere apologies for the errors."

Mr Barber and his wife Debi had been driving through Reading when they were "struck by a speeding car".

'Misplaced file'

He said: "If I had been driving a microsecond slower Debi would have been killed."

Police had obtained a court summons for the other driver, Mateusz Karpinsk of Cawley Road, Reading, to face charges of driving without insurance and careless driving.

But the summons could not be served as Mr Karpinsk was not at the address he had given.

Now he will never be prosecuted because six months have passed since court proceedings started.

In a letter to Mr Barber, Ms Ubhey admitted there was a delay because the case file had been "misplaced".

'No closure'

She explained that Reading magistrates had not been made aware they "had a specific power to issue a warrant for the defendant's arrest" where a summons could not be served because of an unknown address.

In the letter, Ms Ubhey said: "We have clearly fallen short of the high standards we set ourselves."

Mr Barber said that a successful prosecution of the driver would have given him "closure".

Reading West MP Alok Sharma said he had written to Justice Secretary Ken Clarke about Mr Barber's case and would be raising the issue in Parliament.

He said: "Mr Barber deserves some form of redress and we need to make sure that similar mistakes are not made by the CPS in the future."

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