Published: 09:00, 15 May 2014 |
Updated: 11:07, 15 May 2014
A taxi driver accused of causing the death of a 13-year-old boy by careless driving has been found not guilty.
Nawzad Hussein, 48, had denied the charge when he appeared at Canterbury Crown Court after Steven Perry's death.
After the prosecution offered no evidence, Judge Simon James directed the jury to acquit Mr Hussein, of Burgoyne Heights, Dover.
The accident happened in the early hours of March 15, 2013, on the London-bound carriageway of the A2 at Shepherdswell.
Budding rugby player Steven died at the scene. Mr Hussein and another young passenger escaped without serious injury.
Judge James told the jury: "There have been discussions of matters raised in front of me and there has been a significant development."
Richard Barton, prosecuting, told the court the case concerned the death of Steven, who was a rear passenger in a taxi driven by Mr Hussein on the A2 in the early hours when it was in a crash with an excavator travelling in the same direction.
"A number of factors were said to be contributory to the accident," Mr Barton told the court. "Some of the lights at that time were not working on one side of the road and one light on the excavator was not working. There was also an issue with lights during the work."
Mr Barton said expert evidence was sought on the case. Experts produced reports and one combined report, which the experts agreed on, was also produced.
"This document gave the prosecution the opportunity to review the case further," Mr Barton said.
Judge James told the jury that because it was a criminal case, a very high standard of proof was needed.
Mr Barton added further clarification had been sought on the report and the experts had also met to discuss it.
"There was a tricky, rather ambiguous aspect of the document," he said. "The Crown Prosecution Service reviewed the case yesterday and now we can't say that a jury could be sure of the guilt of this driver.
"Therefore, in accordance with that test, we conclude it would not be appropriate to continue this case now."
Judge James said it was a slightly unusual set of circumstances. "In a case of this kind, it is important to keep it under review," he told the jury. "Opinions can change."
He directed the jury to find Mr Hussein not guilty.
Judge James also extended his sympathy to the family of Steven, who lived in The Avenue, Gravesend.
"It has been hard, very hard, not to be touched by the tragic loss of someone at such a young age," he said.
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