Lawyers representing a car crash attorney who was in the High Court for a trial that could have changed the lives of many are now calling on the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to explain why it took them two years to file a request for advice and support from the CPS about the legality of the case.
Matthew Stott, who is defending former police officer James Craig, has written to the CPS seeking clarification on its stance.
He argues that he had a duty to consult the Crown Office, which advised him of the legal risks involved and had already considered whether to take legal action in 2015.
Mr Stott says that the CPS had not given him a fair hearing before taking the case to the court and said it had failed to disclose to him that he would be required to disclose his legal advice to the Crown office before the trial began.
The CPS told The Independent it was reviewing Mr Stotts request.
A CPS spokesman said: “We will not comment on any individual case.”
A Crown Office spokesman said the CPS would not comment.
Mr Craig, who was found guilty of the manslaughter of James Craig in July, was acquitted of causing death by careless driving in March 2017.
He is appealing against his conviction.
The case was heard by the High Commission at Westminster.
It is the first time the CPS has sought advice on the legality or legality of a car collision case in its 13-year history.
The High Court heard in October last year that Mr Stokes had been advised that he faced a 10-year jail term if he sought legal advice.
A spokesman for the CPS said: ‘We cannot comment on individual cases.
‘However, we are aware of the ongoing appeal and are reviewing Mr Craig’s case and the CPS’s response to his appeal.
‘It is important to note that in all the years that the High Crown Office has had responsibility for handling car crashes, the CPS and the Crown have never taken legal advice on behalf of a client.
‘CPS advice is confidential and subject to strict confidentiality and the right to refuse to provide advice to a client is protected by law.
‘The High Crown Offices is committed to ensuring the best possible outcome for everyone involved and its commitment to the principle of responsible client representation remains strong.
‘If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact our team of lawyers on 0800 123 4535 or email [email protected].’
In the past, we have provided information on some matters to the public in relation to the criminal justice system and our advice is always confidential.
‘We can provide additional guidance to the High Courts in relation the issues raised by Mr Craig and will continue to do so.
‘Our team of solicitors and experienced staff work closely with the High Commissions lawyers and we have worked to ensure that all our legal advice is available to all clients.
‘A criminal case is a criminal matter and we would encourage people to contact the Crown or the CPS if they have any concerns about any aspects of the trial.’
We are not in the business of representing a criminal.
We are in the case of defending people accused of a crime, not challenging the law itself.
‘As such, we will not be commenting on individual criminal cases.’
Mr Craig was acquitted on the charge of manslaughter, but his lawyers had argued that the prosecution failed to provide sufficient evidence that Mr Craig acted recklessly in the crash and was guilty of an unlawful act.
The Crown appealed against his acquittal and Mr Craig appealed against that ruling.
His lawyers have called for a retrial.
A jury found Mr Craig guilty of manslaughter and sentenced him to six years in prison.
The Supreme Court ruled last year in favour of the Crown, with Justice Nicholas Williams of London calling the jury’s verdict “unreasonable” and “arbitrary”.
The case has been sent back to the jury for retrial and a retried case will take place in 2019.