Sentencing of funeral director delayed

The sentencing of a funeral director accused of serious motoring offences has been delayed after a judge said he was not satisfied with the approach of the prosecution.

Colin Phillips, aged 50, of Postgwyn, Eglwyswrw, had been due to be sentenced at Swansea crown court today for causing serious injury by dangerous driving on 2 November 2013.

He had also admitted driving after drinking more than twice the permitted amount of alcohol.

Phillips caused a head on collision on the A487.

Brian Simpson, prosecuting, said the prosecution accepted Phillips’ mitigation that he had not been speeding above the 60mph limit at the time.

But Judge Huw Davies said there was evidence from Mrs Hazel James, the victim, that he had been driving his Audi A6 too fast.

Mr Simpson said he relied on a report by a defence expert. But Judge Davies pointed out that the expert said he thought Phillips would have lost control because of excessive speed only if he had been driving at 86mph or above. If that had been the case, the expert would have expected to see marks on the road surface, which he had not.

Mr Simpson said he had misunderstood and should have said that the prosecution accepted he was going at less than 86mph, not at less than 60mph.

Judge Davies said speed was an issue and could well affect the sentence Phillips received. A judge would hear evidence on March 27 and Phillips would be sentenced immediately afterwards.

Judge Davies said he also wanted to know how much Phillips had drunk, and for how long, and details of Mrs James’ state of health.

And he also needed evidence as to what Phillips had said at the scene of the crash.

Huw Rees, the barrister representing Phillips, said he had been to one pub and a Chinese restaurant. He was driving away from the restaurant when he collided with Mrs James, who was heading for the same restaurant but in the opposite direction.

Mr Simpson said Phillips had straddled a central white line and at the moment of impact at least three quarters of his car was on the wrong side of the road.

Judge Davies said he wanted to know why Phillips was on the wrong side of the road. It appeared that at first Phillips had suggested that a gust of wind had blown him there, although he no longer maintained that.

“There has to be a full understanding of the facts if we are to have a proper sentencing hearing,” he added.

Phillips, who is already the subject of an interim driving ban, was granted bail until March 27.

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