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Wednesday, 01 July 2015

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Cumbria garden centre boss Porsche crash trial - jury dramatically discharged

THE jury in the trial of a top Cumbria businessman accused of lying in an attempt to avoid a drink-driving conviction has been dramatically discharged.

Thomas Hayes

Thomas Hayes, 44, managing director of Hayes Garden World at Ambleside, was on trial at Carlisle Crown Court (WED) accused of perverting the course of justice by falsely claiming he had not been behind the wheel of his Porsche when it crashed near his home in Kendal.

The case was opened in front of a jury on Monday, but most of yesterday (TUES) was taken up with legal argument.

And this morning the jury returned to court to be told that for legal reasons it would not be possible to continue.

The judge, Recorder Michael Hayton QC, told the jury that an issue had arisen with a piece of evidence which could not be sorted out within the immediate future.

It was, he stressed, "no fault of the defendants or any of the lawyers involved."

Mr Hayton said that in the circumstances it would be impracticable to try to continue the trial, so he discharged the jury.

It was the second time the trial had been stopped.

Last week a first jury had to be discharged for different legal reasons, even before any witnesses had been heard from.

Hayes, of Crook Lane, Kendal, has been back at the Crown Court again this week, to face trial accused of lying to the police and the courts in a failed attempt to get out of trouble.

Derek Henderson, 57, of Woodbank Terrace, Endmoor – who worked for Hayes and backed up his story that he had not been driving – has been in the dock with him.

Both had denied conspiring to pervert the course of justice, insisting that they were telling the truth when they said Hayes had not been driving.

Hayes and Henderson will go on trial for a third time, in front of a different jury, on March 4.


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