Harley trial: Judge expresses concern over ‘lack of advice’ given to driver

Harley Simpson
Harley Simpson

The judge who presided over the trial relating to the death of an 11-year-old boy from St Leonards expressed his concern for the ‘apparent lack of advice’ given to the defendant in terms of driving after an operation.

Richard Stemler, 70, was accused of causing death by dangerous driving at Hove Crown Court, after being involved in a collision with Harley Simpson, 11, on October 22, 2016 – four and a half months after undergoing surgery to have a benign brain tumour removed.

Harley Simpson died of Bulverhythe Road, St Leonards, died in hospital on November 4, 2016.

On Monday (March 19), judge Jeremy Gold QC told Mr Stemler he ‘had no case to answer’ and dismissed the jury.

Following his verdict, judge Gold QC said: “As a postscript to this ruling, I have expressed my concern during the trial at the apparent lack of appropriate advice given to Mr Stemler as to the risk of a focal epileptic seizure and the consequent danger of him driving following the removal of his brain tumour.

“I would be grateful if that concern could be drawn to the attention of the coroner dealing with Harley’s inquest.

“If that concern is shared consideration should be given to appropriate discussion with the Spanish authorities as to whether their current practice of both advising and recording advice given to patients on discharge needs to be revised in the light of the circumstances surrounding Harley Simpson’s tragic death.”

Prosecutors have indicated an intention to appeal the judge’s decision.

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