Fountain Chambers barristers instructed by the prosecution and the defence in major A1 crash

Robin Patton prosecuted the case and outlined the facts; in summary:

On 21 January 2022 in Bowburn Co. Durham Hugh Holmes drove a stolen car through a red light colliding with a van before smashing through safety railings on a bridge over the A1 motorway. The car fell onto the central reservation causing serious, life threatening injuries to his passenger. Holmes fled the scene telling members of the public who came to help that it was the seriously injured passenger who had been driving.

Hugh Holmes pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified, aggravated vehicle taking and failing to supply a specimen for analysis.

Following mitigation by Paul Rooney, Holmes was sentenced to 32 months custody.

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Communication and assessment in care proceedings

Anyone practising in the family courts will know the vital importance of the assessment process. Where there are communication barriers the correct assessment is all the more important.

 

Collette Price, led by Sam Momtaz QC (of 1GC) and instructed by FAB Solicitors, has recently represented a family member in a case where the problems with communication were legion. The family are of Roma Slovakian origin. English was not the first language for parents, children or wider family. There are a lack of Roma interpreters, it appears, so the first communication hurdle was spoken language. The parents are also deaf, but not BSL users. The court highlighted – following the guidance in re C (A Child) [2014] EWCA Civ 128 – the importance of considering the impact of the cultural and educational significance of their deafness. Lastly both parents had learning difficulties and were provided with specialist deaf intermediaries during the court process. Unfortunately, it seems there are now only 3 registered deaf intermediaries in the country (there were four when the proceedings started). Such a valuable resource, but clearly dwindling.

 

Failure to identify and address all of these issues prior to issue meant that proceedings were issued in December 2019 and judgment handed down in March 2022, a significant delay for the children involved.