Judge blasts police for 'sloppy work' after drink-driving collision
A DISTRICT judge has criticised the police for "sloppy work" after he was left unable to award compensation to victims of a drink-driving collision.
Judge Simon Cooper was speaking in a case at Bristol Magistrates' Court yesterday after he was told police had not properly supplied details of vehicles – and their owners – which were damaged in a drunken prank gone wrong.
Michael Parry, from Tilling Road, Horfield, admitted causing the damage by attempting to move his girlfriend's car for a joke after drinking ten pints of cider during a session at a pub on November 26 last year.
He admitted drink-driving, aggravated vehicle taking, and driving without a licence or insurance.
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Judge Cooper banned the 23-year-old accountant from driving for 20 months, gave him a one-year community order with 100 hours of unpaid work and ordered him to pay a £60 victim surcharge.
But he said he could not order compensation to the owners of a Daihatsu Ceria, Toyota Yaris, Ford Fiesta and Ford Transit which Parry drove into on Brunswick Street, St Paul's, due to inadequate information in the case files.
Judge Cooper also declined to order Parry to pay costs to the Police and Crown Prosecution Service, "because I don't think the prosecution has done a proper job".
He said: "This is sloppy work by police. These people deserve proper compensation for the damage to their cars."
The judge criticised the police for "not even writing the name of the owner on the sheet properly".
Parry was found to have 102 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – almost three times the legal limit of 35 – and admitted drinking ten pints of cider before taking his girlfriend Cleo Monelle's car.
The court heard he had two passengers in the car with him as he attempted to move the vehicle, for what he said was a joke. One passenger, a girl, was left with a broken nose after multiple collisions with the parked cars and the moving van.
In addition, Judge Cooper said he chose not to award costs to the Crown Prosecution Service .
Avon and Somerset Police spokesman Wayne Baker said the force would take note of Judge Cooper's comments.
He said: "Officers carried out an investigation into the incidents and put this before the CPS, who agreed to proceed with the prosecution.
"The offender was convicted of four offences and dealt with by the court. We will of course take on board any comments made in court."
He added: "We have made significant progress to improve the quality of material that we present to the court. At this time new handheld devices are being installed in police vehicles, which allow officers to produce electronic witness statements at the scene of incidents.
"Additionally, both the police and CPS are now working electronically, sharing documentation in an electronic format which helps to improve the quality and presentation of information available to the court and also increases our efficiency by reducing and eradicating paper-based processes."
CPS spokeswoman Sophie Kilgour said: "Judge Cooper's remarks in court today were in relation to the victim compensation forms, some of which did not include all the necessary information.
"This should have been followed up before they were brought before the court but for some reason this did not happen.
"Judge Cooper had the option of adjourning so that further information could be obtained but chose not to do so."