Jury clears crash driver

  • Shachkeil Burrows on the road to recovery in the summer of 2017  (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Shachkeil Burrows on the road to recovery in the summer of 2017 (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A driver was cleared yesterday of causing serious injuries to two men in a crash.

Cavin Francis was found not guilty of causing grievous bodily harm to Shachkeil Burrows and Dakai Grant by driving an automobile without due care and attention.

The 21-year-old self-employed mechanic earlier admitted driving the car, which belonged to a customer, while he was disqualified from driving and without a valid licence.

A Supreme Court jury delivered a majority verdict of ten to two on both counts after four hours of deliberations.

The Crown argued during the weeklong trial that Mr Francis’s car was in the wrong lane when he hit the bike ridden by Mr Grant with Mr Burrows as passenger.

Prosecutors alleged that Francis’s standard of driving fell below that of a careful and competent driver.

But the defence argued that Mr Francis was on the correct side of the road when the collision happened on South Road, Paget, on July 30 last year.

Lawyer Kamal Worrell said debris on the road, tyre marks and CCTV footage of the crash showed that his client was in the correct lane. Mr Francis told the jury in evidence that he was sure he was in the proper lane because the car had swerved in the stretch before the crash happened.

He said he had used his mirrors “to come as close to the sidewalk as possible” and correct the car’s position. Mr Francis told the court how his passenger had alerted him to the oncoming bike. He said he “looked up” and “did the next thing I could possibly do, which was to swerve left”.

He also told the jury how he went to check on Mr Grant and Mr Burrows before he decided to take his injured passenger to the hospital.

But he denied leaving the scene of the crash because he knew he should not have been behind the wheel. Mr Francis said: “I wouldn’t have gone to the hospital if that was the case.”

He admitted in evidence that “a little bit” of the car was in the eastbound lane just before the accident and that he had “no good reason” to be there, but denied careless driving.

The jury heard that Mr Burrows had his lower right leg amputated and Mr Grant lost part of his right foot as a result of the crash.

Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves said in his summary of evidence that Mr Grant had told the court that he and Mr Burrows were leaving Ice Queen takeaway restaurant in Paget when the crash happened.

He said the pair had come from a house party after being out in town — but added that Mr Grant denied that he was intoxicated.

He said Mr Grant told the court that he tried to swerve when he realised that the car coming over the hill was in his lane but that it was too late to avoid a collision.

Mr Justice Greaves added that Mr Burrows told the court that he at first failed to realise the seriousness of his injuries.

He said Mr Burrows recounted how he landed on the ground and looked over to see that his right leg was “completely gone”.

Mr Francis was released on bail for a Wednesday appearance for sentencing for driving without insurance and driving without a licence.

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