‘Wasp sting’ driver wins right to appeal

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An amateur cricketer who was jailed after a jury rejected his claim that it was a wasp sting - and not his dangerous driving - which caused a crash that seriously injured another motorist has won the right to appeal his conviction.

David Michael Boyes, 22, of Laund Nook, Belper, Derbyshire, was jailed for 14 months last May after he was found guilty by a jury at Exeter Crown Court of dangerous driving.

But three senior judges today said it is arguable that Boyes’ conviction should be quashed and granted him permission for a full Court of Appeal hearing.

The court heard Boyes was driving on the A35 when his car collided with a Vauxhall Corsa driven by a young bank employee near Axminster, in Devon, in July 2009.

The 24-year-old suffered devastating injuries, including numerous fractures which resulted in her going under the knife on several occasions.

At his trial, Boyes claimed he had suffered a delayed reaction to a wasp sting, blacking out and losing control of his vehicle just before the smash.

However, experts could find no other case in which an allergic reaction had been so delayed. The jury disbelieved the story and convicted Boyes.

Now, his lawyers have argued that evidence of a text message which was sent from his mobile phone before the accident should not have gone before the jury.After analysis, experts had agreed it was likely the message had been sent about an hour before the smash, making the evidence “irrelevant”, his lawyers said.

Granting leave to appeal in London today, Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart said the crown court judge had been right to allow the evidence into the trial. It was only after the judge had made the ruling that it had been agreed that the message was sent so long before the accident, he told the court.

“We considerit’s reasonably arguable the judge should have directed the jury to ignore completely the evidence about the text,” he said.

Leave was granted to appeal the conviction, but a challenge to the 14-month sentence and two-year driving ban was dismissed.

No date was set for the full hearing of Boyes’ conviction appeal.