Not guilty in K-9 injury case

A man facing a dangerous driving charge over a March 2007 collision with a policeman was found not guilty Friday.

Daniel Ransford Reid, 30, was cleared of both dangerous driving and the lesser charge of careless driving over the crash, which left former Royal Cayman Islands Police Service K-9 Constable Paul Dewing in a Florida Hospital with head, arm and leg injuries.

Reid showed no outward emotion as the jury handed down its verdicts, but the result prompted an angry response from Mr. Dewing and his girlfriend, with the latteroutside the court room justlater for assault (see story here: www.caycompass.com/cgi-bin/CFPnews.cgi?ID=1032037).

Reid’s Honda Accord hit Mr. Dewing as he was walking his two dogs on Pedro Castle Road in Savannah at around 9.30pm on 23 March, 2007.

The defence offered no evidence in the trail but Defence Attorney Sheridan Brooks-Hurst had pointed to contradictions in the Crown’s case. She said there were too many unanswered questions about the crash for the jury to convict Reid.

Judge Priya Levers reminded jurors Reid was under no obligation to appear as a witness or say anything – it was instead for the Crown to prove the case against him beyond reasonable doubt.

Earlier, the jury heard evidence from RCIPS accident reconstructionist Vincent Walters that Reid had been travelling at 42 miles per hour on the 25mph road before he crashed into Mr. Dewing. Reid had been on the way to a friend’s barbeque when the accident happened. Tests showed he had no alcohol in his system at the time of the crash and had not been talking on his cell phone.

The 42mph assessment was rejected by Ms Brooks-Hurst who pointed out Mr. Walter’s report was not provided until almost nine months after the crash.

Mr. Walter was asked to do the report after questions were raised about the expertise of another RCIPS accident reconstructionist that had compiled the initial accident reconstruction report.

Ms Brooks-Hurst pointed out the whole case again Reid had been brought on the basis of report by a now discredited officer.

Mr. Walters’ report had concluded that the outcome could have been different had Mr. Dewing been walking closer to the road’s shoulder at the time of the crash or if Reid had been travelling slower. If Reid had been driving at the speed limit he probably would have still hit Mr. Dewing, he said, but with less force.

During the four-day trial there was conflicting evidence presented about how well illuminated the area was at the time of the crash, and whether Reid could have been expected to see Mr. Dewing, who was wearing dark clothes.

RCIPS Marine Unit Officer Shawn Bodden, who lives a matter of meters from the crash scene, had said the area was dark at night because of large trees that block moonlight.

Inspector Frank Owens said the area was well illuminated; the weather had been dry and there were no obstructions on the road. Mr. Walters also described it as a well lit area.

RCIPS Senior Private Officer Ronnie Pollard said it would have been very hard to see someone in the place the crash occurred if they had been wearing dark clothes.

There was no evidence presented about why Mr. Dewing had been in the middle of the road at the time of the crash or whether he had heard the car or seen its headlights. To this day Mr. Dewing does not have any recollection of the accident, the court was told.

‘The simple question to ask yourself is, had we seen this driving, would we have said it was a dangerous piece of driving,’ Justice Levers had instructed the jury.

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