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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 August 2007, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK
Car death detective's driving ban
Ashley Brice (picture: Dragon)
Ashley Brice denied causing death by dangerous driving
A detective who caused the death of a motorist when he lost control of an unmarked police car on a bend has been banned from driving for a year.

Det Con Ashley Brice, 33, from Kerry, near Newtown, Powys, was also fined 2,000 at Caernarfon Crown Court for driving without due care and attention.

He lost control of his unmarked Ford Mondeo, which collided head-on with a Vauxhall Astra driven by Gareth James.

A jury rejected a more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving.

During the four-day retrial the court heard that Brice, who is a surveillance officer, had tried to overtake a convoy of three cars by crossing into the oncoming lane on the A483 near Dolfor, close to Newtown, on October 10, 2005.

But as he took a sharp bend in the road - which has a 60mph (96.5kph) speed limit - Brice tried to pull back into the left lane and hit the kerb before careering into the path of Mr James, 43, from Llandegley, near Llandrindod Wells in Powys.

Had you been convicted of the more serious charge today I would have no hesitation in sending you to jail.
Judge John Rogers QC

Fining him 2,000, and disqualifying him from driving for 12 months, Judge John Rogers QC said: "You were driving an unmarked, powerful police car.

"You had plenty of time to get to your destination, but you aggressively overtook three cars at a speed of about 80mph (129kph) when you knew there was a severe bend in the road ahead.

"You lost control and collided with the Astra causing the death of Mr James.

"Had you been convicted of the more serious charge today I would have no hesitation in sending you to jail.

"The aggravating feature in your case is that you were driving aggressively at excess speed."

Macho display

Brice, who is a class one advanced police driver, had argued in court that the car's braking mechanism failed and that caused him to collide with Mr James.

He denied the manoeuvre was a "macho" display of driving and said his actions were safe, but was unable to tell the jury what speed he had been travelling.

Asked by Geraint Walters, prosecuting, why he embarked on the dangerous manoeuvre, Brice replied: "Well, I just wanted to overtake."

Robert Trevor-Jones, defending, told Judge Rogers that Dyfed-Powys Police had a "expectation" that Brice should return to driving duties following the end of the case.

Following the verdict, a spokesman for the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said Dyfed-Powys Police would send the IPCC their "recommendation about the disciplinary aspects of the case".

Jury out in police car death case
09 Aug 07 |  Mid Wales
Policeman denies 'macho driving'
08 Aug 07 |  Mid Wales
Detective to face crash retrial
04 May 07 |  Mid Wales

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