Teenager who admitted killing two bikers in car crash walks free from court on legal technicality
A teenage driver who admitted killing two bikers through careless driving has walked free from court after all charges were dropped due to a legal technicality.
Joshua Kempster was cleared of dangerous driving following a trial over the deaths of motorcyclists, Andrew Cuthbert, 58, and Gary Groves, 62.
The 19-year-old had earlier pleaded guilty to careless driving but as the prosecution did not accept his guilty plea – instead arguing for the higher charge of dangerous driving – it was no longer valid.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard that as a result the court had ‘no option’ but to discharge him from the proceedings and let him walk free.
The trial had been told Kempster, of West Meon, was driving home with a friend in his Ford Fiesta Zetec on February 2 last year near Bishop's Waltham and Corhampton.
Jurors heard he overtook on a blind right-hand bend before swerving back into a Kia, causing both vehicles to spin.
The Kia exploded in a fireball engulfing one rider while the other motorcyclist slammed into a fence with Mr Cuthbert and Mr Groves having no chance to avoid the crash.
During the four-day trial earlier this year, Kempster denied driving ‘dangerously’ in the £6,500 Fiesta and that he was a boy racer, instead arguing he had been distracted by a BMW 3 Series driving quickly behind him.
He was then cleared of two counts of dangerous driving on July 15 this year.
The teenager was due to be sentenced for his guilty pleas to two charges of causing death by careless driving.
However, the court heard it was realised ‘very late in the day’ that these had not been accepted and so were no longer valid.
Honorary Recorder of Portsmouth judge Timothy Mousley QC said: ‘There has been no conviction on counts one or two and the authorities believe he must therefore be discharged.
‘All this court can do is discharge him.’
The Crown Prosecution Service is now launching a review of the case.
Speaking after the hearing, a Crown Prosecution Service spokesperson said: ‘On February 2, 2020, Andrew Cuthbert and Gary Groves were involved in a road traffic collision which tragically led to their deaths.
‘Following complex legal argument, proceedings in this case have ended. The CPS is now reviewing the position in relation to this case.
‘We recognise that this is an extremely difficult and upsetting time for the families and friends of Andrew Cuthbert and Gary Groves, and our thoughts are with them at this traumatic time.’