Guilty verdicts in driver’s trial

Simon Courtney bailed till sentencing

Simon Christopher Courtney was found guilty on Friday afternoon of inflicting grievous bodily harm on two tourists hit by his car on West Bay Road on Sunday,  January 25, 2015. Further, he was found not guilty of dangerous driving but guilty of reckless driving, which was an alternative charge.

The Grand Court jury of four men and three women returned their verdicts shortly after 2 p.m., having retired at 10:40 a.m. All verdicts were unanimous.

Defense attorney Laurance Aiolfi asked for a social inquiry report before sentencing.

Given the time needed for preparation of such a report, Justice Malcolm Swift provisionally set sentencing for July 25. He extended the defendant’s bail until then.

Justice Swift thanked the jurors for their service. “That wasn’t an easy case,” he told them.

In his instructions on Thursday afternoon and early Friday, he told them to deal with the first two counts separately and consider four questions: Did the victim sustain really serious bodily harm? Did the defendant inflict that harm? Did he inflict that harm unlawfully (not in self-defense or for the purpose of preventing a crime)? Did the defendant inflict that harm recklessly?

He explained that the prosecution had to prove four things: that there was a risk that some bodily harm might result from the defendant driving his Mustang Shelby GT 500 in the circumstances existing at the time; that he was aware of the risk; that in the circumstances known by him at the time, he was aware that it was unreasonable to take the risk; and that he went on to take the risk.

The circumstances at the time included such factors as the nature and condition of the road, the manner and speed of driving, the rain that fell that day and the possibility of standing water, the characteristics of the car, the amount of alcohol consumed by the defendant and whether the jury was sure that it played a risk.

Richard Schubert, 71, and his wife Kathy, 68, gave evidence about their injuries via video link last week.