An Israeli has been cleared of causing the death by dangerous driving of an off-duty motor-cycle policeman.
Liron Shnaider, a 26-year-old musician who lives in Golders Green, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of careless driving and will be sentenced next month.
Shnaider was acquitted after a four-day trial at Isleworth Crown Court during which his counsel, Jonathan Goldberg QC, demonstrated that the accident in April that brought about the death of 36-year-old PC Chris Dent occurred because of a sequence of unfortunate events.
Mr Goldberg, who was assisted by solicitor advocate David Sonn, told the court that Shnaider was on a slip road off the A40 when he received a misleading command from his satellite navigation system telling him to continue on the right side of the road, which in fact was two-way.
Road signs left behind from long-completed road works and worn-out, indistinct road markings added to Shnaider’s confusion.
Mr Goldberg also proved that PC Dent, who was riding his own motor bike, had been speeding at the time of the crash, having accelerated away from traffic lights to a speed of not less than 41 miles an hour in a distance of 60 yards and in a 30-miles-an-hour speed limit.
The court was told that Shnaider had suffered from panic attacks since he was 16, a condition that meant he could not be trained in the use of weapons during his army service. Mr Goldberg produced medical evidence to support this and told the court that Shnaider, who tried to jack up the car to free PC Dent, left the scene of the accident because he had a panic attack.
He was arrested an hour later at his home in Golders Green and initially charged with murder, even though at that time the arresting officer did not know that PC Dent had died. That was later changed to causing death by dangerous driving.
Mr Goldberg said Shnaider had written a moving letter to PC Dent’s family two days later from prison, which trial judge Judge Dennis said at the end of the case he accepted showed great genuine remorse. He is due to appear for sentence on December 11.