How long did you have to wait for the inquest after your son’s death?
It would have been at least six months, I would say six months.
Yes, easily. Before the inquest and it was an inquest in a coroner’s court and the outcome of it was accidental death. And it was then referred to the magistrate’s court.
Can you describe what happened at the inquest?
Yes at the inquest we had, I had a barrister present, to represent me on behalf of my son, and the barrister was recommended to us from RoadPeace, again, that was a tremendous support. I didn’t get any chance, I didn’t have a chance to say anything at all, it was basically the coroner, the police, and my barrister just asked a few questions, but he was not permitted to interrogate or the driver of the vehicle. He’s pleaded silence and to remain silent, “No comment, no comment, no comment,” that was all he said, all the way through.
The driver. All he had to say was, “No comment, no comment, no comment.” My son chose law as a profession. A profession which he very much believed, and strongly believed, but he was never given a day in court, I was not given the opportunity, nor my barrister to question this young man, which I find very, very hard.
What verdict would you have liked?
Death by dangerous driving because the devastation, with no license, no insurance, nothing at all, and these guys were literally speeding down the road. But sadly on the particular day there were no witnesses, no-one come forward. The only person that said that she saw something did, at the end of the day decided that “Well, I can’t remember.” And that’s it, so there was no statement.
Did the police keep you up to date with what was going on?
Yes, a part of it, they came home on several occasions and kept us informed of what’s going to happen, with the inquest, the forthcoming inquest that was planned.
Did they tell you what was going to happen at the inquest?
Well at home yes, they told me that the maximum this guy could get up to 14 years. We got to the Courts, the coroners court and the magistrate. Things have changed because of technicality. The step-father owner of the car told the police under caution that he did not give him permission, and changed his tune on legal advice and would not sign a witness statement. That way the police could not bring about a charge for aggravated vehicle taking, causing death, so he was charged with careless driving.
But to start with he had told the police that he had not given permission, and then he changed his mind?
Absolutely, on advice from his solicitors. Yes.
Did you have to make an impact statement at that stage, or later in the court?
We made an impact statement later, for the, for the magistrate.
Not for the inquest.
Not for the inquest because we were not given the opportunity to say anything at the inquest.
How long did the inquest take?
The inquest took the most of about an hour, two hours if that.
How did you feel about the inqu