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Horse and carriage rides operator denied bid to change guilty plea

Court news

Court news

A horse and carriage rides operator who admitted breaching health and safety legislation following the death of a grandmother has failed in a bid to reverse his guilty plea.

A horse and carriage rides operator who admitted breaching health and safety legislation following the death of a grandmother has failed in a bid to reverse his guilty plea.

Duncan Drye, 64, of Bishops Walk, Bury St Edmunds, appeared at Ipswich Crown Court, yesterday.

In March Drye pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that visitors to the Nowton Park Country Fair in June 2011 were not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

The prosecution followed an incident in which Carole Bullett, 57, was fatally injured.

Mrs Bullett, of Clark Walk, Bury St Edmunds, had been at the event with members of her family when she suffered chest injuries in a collision involving a runaway horse and carriage. She died the following day at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge.

Yesterday Alison Lambert, appearing for Drye, told the court he was applying to be allowed to change his plea of guilty to one of not guilty to allow him to stand trial.

Last month St Edmundsbury Borough Council, who organised the fair, was found not guilty by a jury of the same offence as that faced by Drye following a trial.

Mrs Lambert told the court that when Drye pleaded guilty he had been told by his insurers that they would not continue funding his legal representation if he denied the offence.

After considering submissions from Jonathan Ashley-Norman, appearing for the prosecution, and Mrs Lambert, Judge David Goodin said he was not prepared to allow Drye to change his plea.

Judge Goodin said success in such applications was ‘exceedingly rare’.

While the offence was a serious one it did not justify a prison sentence although all other options remained open to the court, said Judge Goodin who ordered the preparation of a pre sentence report by the Probation

Service.

Drye is due to be sentenced in early January.

 
 
 

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